How can business leaders put their position to good use during the coronavirus pandemic?


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In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, leadership teams everywhere are being watched closer than ever. Employees and the general public alike have a close eye on company leaders, observing how different organisations are handling the pandemic that has led to the deaths of over 15,000. Not only that, but staff are looking to their leaders for guidance and reassurance at this difficult time.

However, leaders will also be feeling the pressure as their businesses, as a best-case scenario, freeze in time. The worst case? That the business simply cannot cope with the disruption. In particular, all recruitment, purchasing, product launches, and much more have come to a screeching halt as self-isolation takes over. Despite the angst that leadership will undoubtedly be experiencing, all eyes remain on enterprise seniors. Thus, leadership needs to step up, not only for their employees, but for clients and the community too.

Putting people first

Your staff need you to communicate with them, as they will undoubtedly have a lot of questions. Enforce an open door policy (or whatever you want to call your at-home equivalent) and ensure that your employees know they can stress their anxieties to you. Of course, you may not know the answers to all of their questions, but that's okay; your staff will appreciate transparency at this time.

What's more, be sure to stay in the know with government updates. In the UK, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is giving daily briefings to the region. It's likely that these updates will lead to more questions from your staff, so ensure you keep prepared and informed as to how your government's advice might affect you, your staff, and your business.

Your clients will also appreciate you offering them support too, even if it's just an email to check in with them. Depending on what your services are, see if there is any way you can help them. Of course, it might go without saying that now is not the time to sell (and you don't want to be that person), so you may wish to think of and offer free services (that are inexpensive and not time-consuming for you) as a small gesture of goodwill.

Although it's not possible for all businesses for myriad reasons, why not think of how you can help the frontline staff that are keeping countries running and people safe? The NHS, TFL, social workers, food stores, and many more are still providing services despite the risk they are putting themselves at. Rather than pausing, say, your weekly snack deliveries, why not see if it's possible to redirect them to a local hospital or charity that may be able to make use of them?

The real heroes in the coronavirus crisis will always be those that are risking their own safety for us, but your gestures of goodwill, whether that's extending mental health benefits to your staff or raising money for a charity combatting COVID-19, will not be forgotten.

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