Not all leaders are created equal, and nothing has demonstrated this more than the COVID-19 crisis. Many nations are struggling with combating the virus and the recession that ensued, thanks largely to the incompetent leadership of many governments in the world.
Now more than ever, captains of industry need to find ways to become the best leader they can be if we want our economy to have a fighting chance of bouncing back. If you’re an entrepreneur who wants the best for your business despite the ongoing financial and economic setbacks, here are some characteristics that you need to possess to be able to steer your team to success during these difficult times.
A sense of vision
Good leaders need to be able to have vision and foresight, especially in times of economic upheaval. They need to foresee where global economic trends are headed and have a future-oriented awareness and strategy, giving them the capability to respond effectively and quickly to opportunities and threats. They also need to be able to cast that vision to their team so that the team knows they’re not following blindly.
Being decisive is one of the key characteristics of any leader, but more so in times of crisis. Decisive managers boost employee morale and confidence, granted that the leader has a history of making good ones. More than being able to decide while between a rock and a hard place, you also need to make decisions based on logic and reason, not emotion. It’s a hard line to walk, especially when the issues catch you off-guard, but it’s possible.
Being an entrepreneur of any kind takes a certain level of optimism because it requires investing your resources with the hope that your efforts won’t return void. Simultaneously, being positive is not enough—every risk you take must be well-assessed and analyzed, and that’s where the optimism comes in. It’s being persistent about a specific course of action and working hard to achieve specific goals.
Speaking of persistence, grit is another crucial attribute of a successful business leader during these times. The word “grit” is defined as the strength of character or courage of conviction and resolve. Now more than ever, business leaders need to pave a path forward despite the challenges that come with an unparalleled crisis such as COVID-19. An August 2020 report found that small businesses that showed the ability to hustle and pivot depending on the trends could weather the storm. It shows that true grit drives not just survival but also success.
Related to grit is the ability to pivot and make concessions depending on changing circumstances. It starts with seeing needs within your organization and finding ways to meet those needs. And nothing demonstrated this more than the pandemic (which is perhaps the most expansive work-from-home experiment ever): Businesses that were quick to adapt to remote work had more time to adjust to the new setup before the COVID-19 crisis completely blew up and changed every aspect of our lives. It showed the importance of learning how to navigate your ship towards changing tides.
Excellent communication skills
Having a vision or a direction for your company means nothing if you cannot communicate it well. Some of the best leaders in the world were good orators as well. Communicating with clarity, compassion, and understanding is a key ingredient towards leading your team well during this trying time. Be honest about the challenges your company is facing but at the same time, assure them of the steps you’re taking as an executive to help them as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
Openness to learning
A good business leader and entrepreneur never stops learning. When crises come, it’s okay to admit when you need expert advice or guidance. This is why the Miick Method introduces the key principle of ongoing learning: a commitment to keep improving and look for opportunities to find great ideas and innovation. Successful entrepreneurs know that good enough is never enough, and there are always new opportunities to keep upping one’s game and not just survive but thrive.
Remember why you started your business in the first place, and look beyond the challenges of today. Think of all the ways you can come through for your team and the people working hard for your company to survive. You’re not alone; some people can work with you and for you and believe in your capacity to lead them to succeed despite the odds.