In our blog a few weeks ago, we highlighted values shared by two organizations in supporting their teams through the disruption of COVID-19. Those two organizations shared their individual stories and experiences. But it turns out there is lots of data to back up what they are doing so effectively.
While we are all hopeful that global pandemics will be infrequent, we know that disruptions to organizations are not. Whether natural disasters, economic changes or innovations that bring opportunity one thing is certain: disruptions are to be expected. However, organizations need much more than hope to address the challenges of disruption. Organizations build long-term and short-term plans, forecasts, research and work to anticipate business disruption. But the true differentiating factor for organizations that succeed or fail will be how they prepare their leaders and teams. We think these three C’s are absolutely critical:
An IMD study on redefining leadership found “Four characteristics distinguish agile from non-agile leaders. Agile leaders are:
- Humble: They are able to accept feedback and acknowledge that others know more than they do.
- Adaptable: They accept that change is constant and that changing their minds based on new information is a strength rather than a weakness.
- Visionary: They have a clear sense of long-term direction, even in the face of short-term uncertainly.
- Engaged: They have a willingness to listen, interact, and communicate with internal and external stakeholders combined with a strong sense of interest and curiosity in emerging trends.”
These characteristics are important but cannot be effective in isolation. We have spoken before about the importance of organizational culture. It was wonderful to see the results of a recent MIT Sloan Management Review study comparing the twelve months prior to COVID-19 to results during COVID-19.
“But one important theme that does stand out in the months of the pandemic is the quality of communication by leaders. Employees of Culture 500 companies gave their corporate leaders much higher marks in terms of honest communication and transparency during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic compared with the preceding year.”
Both leaders and teams need support to bring their very best every day and to be prepared for disruption. Understanding their own strengths, areas for development, how to continue to build on their organizational culture and develop a team all requires coaching skills.
The organizations that are differentiating themselves during this disruption have created cultures of communication where they invest in developing the coaching skills of leaders and teams to deliver results. How are you developing the coaching skills in your organization?