Recently, a senior executive shared a concern with us about his leadership style during the pandemic: “I have always thought of myself as a good leader. For the first time in my career, I feel like I’m failing.”
His worry was less about making the big decisions needed in a crisis, and more about the ongoing engagement and “forward motion” of his team.
When in-person meetings transitioned to Zoom calls, he was struck by how much of leadership and team building relies on in-person interaction, whether it’s formal group sessions to drive a decision, or the hundreds of informal one-on-one interactions every week in the office. As our small firm went virtual, it’s something we noticed, too. Virtual interactions require a different structure and pace, and it takes more work to engage the full group.
And while no one enjoys an hours-long videoconference, more frequent, shorter calls can build momentum. Dedicating time to sharing personal updates builds the connections lost when we’re not physically together.
But despite the risks, one CEO shared that in a crisis like COVID-19, showing up in person matters: “You can’t always stay at home or in your office. As a leader you have to be out and talking to staff. I know it’s risky but that is really what it takes.
Being there to clearly articulate the go-forward plan.” We’d love to hear your insights about how you’re adapting your leadership approach to navigate this balance, keeping your teams engaged through this difficult and unfamiliar time.