Based on an informal survey of CEOs, a recent McKinsey article entitled “The Toughest Leadership Test” offers eight excellent recommendations for leaders during Covid-19. You can see it at www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/leadership/the-toughest-leadership-test
I want to highlight a point the authors touch on, in slightly different ways, in three of the eight sections. This is the need—when most of their meetings are virtual—for leaders to be more directly personal in their interactions with team members. I’ve noticed that what often gets lost in virtual meetings is a feeling of connection that goes beyond purely business purposes.
For their own sense of connectedness and to help members of their teams feel a tangible connection, leaders need to intentionally bring more of themselves into their interactions, be willing to drop the care-taker role at times, and be more vulnerable. During a time of heightened uncertainty, the strength of these personal connections helps team members maintain trust in leaders and have confidence in the way forward.
At the same time, many leaders discover that, with less travel, they have more time for their families. While this is beneficial, they may also find that they’re drawn into more extensive care-taking roles with family members, similar to the roles they take on at work. They need to make sure they supplement care-taking time at home with time spent simply enjoying themselves with their families. There is no anchoring work-life balance if life at home too closely resembles life at work.