New normal, new leadership?

Leaders that took organisations into the current COVID-19 crisis may not be the right ones to lead organisations out of it, according to Professor of Risk Management, Denis Fischbacher-Smith.

The ongoing pandemic has revealed a crisis of leadership and adapting to the post-lockdown new normal will demand a new more agile style of leadership -- one that is prepared to be self-critical and empathetic to employees and their families.

“The people who lead us into this crisis might not be the right ones to lead us out of the same crisis. As organisations grow they can be faced with a series of growth crises, needing different leaders. Once moved out of the steady state environment existing leaders often cannot cope,” he explained at a Resilience First debate.

“Leaders need to be pushed practically and intellectually so that they can handle uncertainty when it comes along. The first thing a good leader will do is recognise that they don’t have all the answers and that they must have a group around them they trust to tell them when they are wrong.”

Simon Collins, chairman of the resilience group, said leadership is tough in any event and leaders are required to provide clarity and assurance.

"Providing this right now, when there is anything but certainty, does put the challenges of leadership into sharp perspective.

“There is a big difference between leadership and management. There is no one size that fits all during a pandemic. There is no normality to return to, leaders should be aiming for a better new normal rather than just returning to what was there before.”

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