By IRISHA LUHANGA
As the COVID-19 pandemic eases and economies reopen, many companies and people will return to the office. As many companies consider making the transition to remote work more permanent, there are areas leaders should emphasize to create a successful corporate culture in a coronavirus pandemic-era remote work environment.
Leaders are venturing into new unchartered areas to support their organizations remotely as they work around the clock on a range of issues that are emerging daily. In these uncertain times, empathy, and authenticity are leadership characteristics that are indispensable.
This all begins with servant leadership – putting employees and their work first by creating an environment in which employees are safe, challenged, effective, motivated and productive.
Borrowing from the Nine Behaviours of a Servant Leader, here are a few ideas to shift from doing servant leadership to being a servant leader during Covid-19.
• Increase your influence through building trust: Trust must be earned. It comes from conscious effort to walk your talk, keep your promises and align your behaviour with your values. Building trust is worth the effort because once trust is lost, it can be very difficult to recover.
• Value others by listening to understand: As a leader, it’s difficult to really know what your employees are thinking about, what’s troubling them or how to help them get out of a performance slump –unless you take the time listen to them. Listening goes well beyond being quiet and giving someone your full attention. It requires you to be aware of body language, facial expressions, mood, and natural behavioural tendencies.
• Demonstrate courage by thinking about your thinking: It is possible that you haven’t stepped up as a servant leader right now because you think servant leadership is what you do. It’s time to realize that thinking that way is holding you back from your true potential.
• Live your transformation by living your values: Nothing speaks more loudly about the culture of the organisation than the leader’s behaviour, which influences employee action and has the potential to drive their results. If you say teamwork is important, reinforce the point by collaborating across teams and functions. Give credit when people do great work and you’ll set the stage for an appreciative culture.