by Dave Wakeman
As we’ve moved through the pandemic, I’ve learned more and more about leadership—what good leadership looks like and what bad leadership looks like.
Since early July, the first question I pose to guests on my podcast, The Business of Fun, zeroes in on how they’ve have been leading their teams during the pandemic. Here are some of the lessons learned that can help you level up your leadership game no matter what industry you work in:
Put People First
This actually came out of several conversations I had, but Mark Fowlie and Harold Hughes, a pair of tech CEOs, really put the best exclamation point on this directive.
Mark is the CEO of Audience View and has a team distributed around the world. He said he helped his team adapt to the new normal by communicating consistently and clearly, and helping people get the space to operate, think and work in an environment where no one had a playbook.
Harold is the CEO of Bandwagon FanClub and his approach is to have daily stand-ups. This provides some consistency with the in-office experience and offers teams a place—albeit virtual—to come and talk. It also gives folks some structure to their day, so they don’t feel alone in their work. On top of that, Harold and his team emphasized socialization with baking classes, happy hours and other fun meetings to ensure the team got a chance to know their co-workers both personally and professionally.
Be Honest In Your Communications
Richard Howle is director of ticketing at The Ticket Factory in the United Kingdom and the biggest lesson learned he shared with me was: It’s totally fine to say that you don’t know something.
No one has the definitive playbook for how to deal with unexpected situations. So expecting we’re going to have all of the answers at a moment’s notice isn’t doing our team any favors—and sets us up to fail as leaders in the process.
Change Is Difficult, But We Have To Deal With It
Zoe Scaman from Bodacious shared her philosophy on communicating change, especially to an audience that may not be comfortable with change or might not want to change. Securing their buy-in goes beyond simply telling them why they need to change. You must show the exciting things possible when people create change and embrace the process.
As project managers, change is a constant and it can be disruptive in the best of cases. In my own experience, I find the need to sell change to my team a bit frustrating. But when I chatted with Zoe, her point of talking about selling the benefits and the vision of a better future helped recalibrate my thinking about what change is really about and why it matters so much.
Change is really about improvement and making the environment and world around you a bit better. In times like these, that’s actually a pretty refreshing perspective to maintain.
How have you been leading your teams during the pandemic? Let me know in the comments.