Tough Leadership

The Toughest Leadership Test for CEO’s

Synopsis of an article from McKinsey By Homayoun HatamiPal Erik Sjatil, and Kevin Sneader

Published 28th May 2020

CEOs (and all leaders) need to take care of themselves
With so much to focus on right now, focusing on yourself might not be top of mind, but if you are tired you lose your ability to be effective, you stop processing information as well and your moods may suffer.

The authors suggest tips on ways to avoid burnout and tap into new sources of energy.

– Call a friend or colleague you like for an early afternoon chat
– Take a walk outside, exercise is a tested way to restore energy
– Stop Friday afternoon meetings
– Consider getting an early night on Thursday to go into the weekend fresh

Break out of your isolation
Getting unfiltered information and contradictory viewpoints requires finding sources of objective, trustworthy and quality information. Making contact directly with individuals and teams to gauge sentiment is critical to understand how people are really feeling and performing. Its worth seeking out a few confidents from inside the organisation and outside who will challenge you with alternative views.

Adapt your personal operating model
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the always on day, working from home just makes the day longer, with constant calls, video conferences and never ending email. Consider how you can manage your time better – shorter meetings, and 1:1 phone calls may be more effective.

Adjust your narrative
Explaining your personal perspective is one way of building your narrative, telling personal stories can help bonding with colleagues. Clearly aligning to your companies purpose and values is a key step to demonstrating your authenticity and integrity as a leader.

Create symbolic acts
During the COVID19 crisis symbolic and surprising moments align and motivate customers and employees. The authors explain a number of strategies that different CEO’s are currently applying including donating CEO bonuses to charities, acting as mystery shoppers and making impromptu appearances at virtual drinks, yoga sessions etc.

“For the young people in our organization, this is the time you will learn more and create more opportunity for your career than any other time. We have to essentially tell the stories, build the lore, and keep the connection because there’s a fair amount of anxiety.”

Mobilise the troops
Communicate much more frequently than you might usually, some leaders like to start meetings by calling out appreciation on one of the teams achievements. As it is often the way during a crisis, some CEOs are reporting that smaller decentralised autonomous teams with a clear mandate are making more effective decisions and running at a much faster pace than usual.

“The COVID-19 crisis is proving to be a revealing test of leadership. Emerging from it strengthened, compassionate, confident, forward looking, and successful will be those leaders who can cope with the extraordinary personal and professional challenges. They will be the ones who know themselves the best and can respond to the many challenges. Unlike in Greek mythology, there is no external deity who will fly to the rescue. But embracing and adopting a set of thoughtful, tested, and far-sighted microhabits can be a recipe for both business success and personal well-being. Not all of these ways of working will endure once the crisis has abated, but new habits that prove effective in the heat of the crisis can stick—and help CEOs become better leaders.”

Read the full article here:

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