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03 April 2020 5 min read

Covid-19: Five principles for effective leaders to help their organisation through a crisis

Will Goodman

Will Goodman
Agile Transformation Lead | London

The world of leadership theory is full of different methods and models where opinions change and evolve depending on the situation.  At Baringa, we just believe in ‘Effective Leadership’.

In the context of Covid-19, organisations are facing the fact that their operating environments have changed overnight, possibly forever. At this time the key message we have for our clients is that “you have more time than you think, so pause, take a breath and be deliberate in your actions”.  Think of a Formula One driver, travelling at 200mph, absorbing huge amounts of information, yet every action they take is smooth and deliberate, so as not to waste energy or veer off track – we need to emulate this.

Our Five Effective Leadership principles support a measured response in this current situation.

  1. Lead with Purpose. At any time, but more so now than ever in this time of crisis, it is critical to understand your why. Ask yourself: 

a. What is the situation and how does it affect me?

b. How does it affect my customers?

c. What do my customers need from me?

Pausing to answer these questions, will enable you to define what outcomes you want to achieve and what purpose you need your people to fulfil.

  1. Challenge your thinking. The critical shift in operating environment means that the way we have been doing things may not now be fit for purpose.  Here at Baringa we apply the ‘Tight, Loose’ concept.  Throughout stability or crisis, we remain tight on our core message of ‘being the most trusted consulting business for our clients and our principles of Quality, Ownership, Passion, Integrity and Collaboration. However, we are looser on the way we execute this, allowing our people the freedom to solve the problems they see through their ingenuity, creativity and innovation.
  2. Empower and enable your people. At a time of crisis your people are one of your greatest assets and you will need to harness everyone’s strengths to deliver your outcomes. Give people the opportunity to step up to the mark by not standing there and telling them what to do, but empowering them to adapt and deliver for your business.
  3. Create personal and institutional trust. It is likely that your people will be experiencing uncertainty, instability and anxiety. They need to be able to trust you as leaders and trust the institution of your organisation. Trust is made up of a number of components, that if applied in every action and decision, create a sense of calm and security in this time of increased pressure. Here at Baringa, we are big fans of the ‘Anatomy of Trust’ developed by Brené Brown; you can see her video here:
  4. Communicate often and effectively. Good communication is the key to any successful relationship. The more effectively we communicate, the less we create feelings of confusion and abandonment in others. Effectiveness of communication requires leaders to consciously think about their balance of listening and speaking, asking and telling and delivering tough messages with compassion and transparency.

Applying these five principles of effective leadership will create a sense of unity and a culture that will sustain the organisation through this time of turbulence and position it to emerge stronger, with greater agility to adapt and transform.

In order to explore effective leadership and the five principles referred to in this article further please get in touch with Will Goodman and Baringa’s PPE team. All our consultants are set up to work remotely, and our collaboration tools allow us to partner with our clients and help them through this crisis.

Would you like to work with us or find out more?Get in touch