a lighthouse at night helps navigate, just like leadership principles during covid-19

Three Powerful Leadership Principles to Guide You Through the COVID-19 Black Swan

By Kyounghee Choi

Here are three powerful principles to help guide your decision-making across both your business and personal life as you navigate through this black swan crisis. There is no perfect formula, case study, analysis or best practice that can be relied upon as this crisis is so unique by its very nature. However, the role of the leader is so critical to ensure long term success. Decisions being made today will help guide whether you survive, thrive or fail when calm waters arrive. Leaders need to have a deeper understanding of what is happening and secure the support of the broader team, quickly. Just as one would sail through an intense storm, leaders cannot control the wind, but leaders can control the course and direction of the ship. This is the time for leaders to take firm control of the direction, seek a path with less turbulence and guide the ship across.

Three Powerful Leadership Principles

1. Be clear, Specific and Realistic

Think through your strategy and path. You will need to regularly adapt but set a course. Be clear with your customers and team. Your team can easily loose attention and direction and waste precious time through these uncertain times. The leader should play a more pivotal role guiding the team on what to do, how to go about it and expectations. Also, be realistic. People tend to turn to unhelpful negative thinking in the face of a crisis due to anxiety and fear. As a leader, you can’t afford to waste a second or breath. Be realistic, focused and keep moving. In normal times, Propulo advises a higher level of participatory leadership to gain greater buy-in. Tighter on outcomes and looser in terms of how things get done. This is not the time for that. Yes, engagement and involvement remain important but now is a time when clearer direction becomes key.

2. Prioritize and Execute

Prioritize your work, every day as Now, Next and Later. You can’t get everything done but you need to map your journey and focus on what is most critical at this instant. Write these down every day on a white board, notepad or planner. Relax and focus on the top three steps that you need to accomplish. Look at the big picture but focus on the critically important. Stop looking for perfection, drive and expect execution without compromise. Focus. Speed. Massive action. Rapidly learn from your actions then go back to your priorities without allowing distractions. Those who succeed will have instilled a bias for action for themselves and their teams.

3. Read and Build a Growth Orientation

We are living with information overload. Millions of bits of information, performance and customer insights, articles are hitting us every day. Not all information comes from reliable sources yet knowledge drives the best strategy in a rapidly evolving space. Choose your sources without letting an algorithm skew your views or others unconsciously skewing what you see. Curate the information deliberately and wisely. Connect dots to rapidly develop a perspective of what is happening. Diversify your data sources both internal to your organization and externally. Be critical of what is being manipulated. Inform your strategy by rapid knowledge acquisition while learning from execution.

There is no easy or proven path forward. But these leadership principles will help guide your success.

At Propulo, we understand that your business is facing unprecedented and uncharted waters and needs help to navigate forward. Our team is here to support with resources to navigate through this storm.


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