Crisis tends to shine a light on effective leadership — or lack thereof — usually to the success or detriment of a corporation or organization. While many companies have embraced — and thrived in — the upheaval of doing business during the current pandemic, there are sadly many more crumbling under the pressure of these uncertain and rapidly changing times.
Economists project that over 100,000 small businesses have shut permanently since the COVID-19 pandemic escalated in March. Meanwhile, big name brands such as 24 Hour Fitness, Dean & DeLuca, Frontier Communications, Hertz, J. Crew, and Technicolor have all filed for bankruptcy in 2020 – along with hundreds more.
Although the latest statistics warn that we’re not out of the woods yet, the shock has worn off and most organizations are looking ahead and trying to discern what they will need to navigate their industry in a post-pandemic world. Interestingly, the leadership skills being cited as most essential in today’s changing landscape are not those often associated with powerful CEOs and take-charge leaders.
“Often during a crisis, we think the masculine superhero leader is the one to get us through troubled times: Be the strongest; be convicted; project infallibility; lead with a kind of singular force,” said Hubert Joly, Executive Chairman and former CEO of Best Buy. However, this is not the approach being used by leaders navigating this crisis most effectively. Joly points out that those who are rebounding and adapting the fastest are leaders that combine a science-based approach with a more human touch.
Yet even prior to the current global pandemic crisis, experts were calling attention to growing change in the leadership methods of successful companies. According to management consulting and research firm McKinsey, a paradigm shift is happening in organizations as they recognize the need to move from a bureaucratic leadership style to an agile approach.