Leadership in the Time of COVID: 3 Best Practices

Leadership in the Time of COVID: 3 Best Practices

Put your people first

It’s official. We are in a world-wide health crisis. Everyone is reacting quickly to prevent the spread of the devastating novel coronavirus. Business leaders are scrambling to stand up continuity plans. As you determine what your organization will do next, be sure to consider what your employees need most from you.

Even in the best of times, people need four elements to thrive at work: hope, trust, compassion and stability. During this uncertain moment when people are being asked to isolate themselves for the greater good, it is critical that business leaders recognize and fulfill people’s basic need for human connections.

Three best practices for leading through a crisis.

1.       Now more than ever, you need to lean into your values and principles. Let your values guide your decisions about what actions to take and what to stop doing. After you have followed the directives of government officials and scientific experts, after you have sent home your staff, your values will point the way to finding your organization’s new normal.

  • Be sure your organization’s actions during and after the crisis align with what you have been saying is important.

2.       When the way ahead is not clear and the situation seems to change daily, the leader must show up as a calm and reassuring presence. You may not have all the answers, but you and your management team are going to figure out how to proceed together. (After all, you hired these folks for their expertise and creativity!)

  • Show your team you have confidence in their ability to succeed, and compassionately provide for their individual needs as best you can.

3.       Be deliberate about spending time with employees—not just about work, but as interesting people. Find opportunities to reinforce connections and strengthen relationships with your people. Schedule plenty of check-ins, coffee breaks and one-to-one meetings. Give your employees the flexibility to spend time with colleagues, too.

  • Leverage technologies to replace normal face-to-face interactions. Different tools allow for different kinds of interactions—meetings, collaborations, even informal “happy hour” or a coffee break.  Do you have a platform where you can share moments of levity such as silly pet photos or kind words of support and gratitude for and from each other?

These best practices are effective at any time, not just during a global virus pandemic. But when an unprecedented crisis such as this comes along, people-centered actions like these become your most important work as a leader. Take care of your people. Take care of yourself. And give me a call if you would like to talk through your leadership concerns and how Integrated Success might be able to help.

Yours in success,


Linda is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Success HR Consulting & Coaching, LLC.  She is a Gallup-certified Strengths Coach and a leader in strengths-focused development. Integrated Success works with organizations in developing effective teams and human resources practices to bring out the best of individuals for their own success and that of the organization. That’s why we say Integrated Success is the engine behind individuals and organizations thriving!