Covid-19 has caused leaders to reflect on their leadership as they see their companies through this unprecedented time. And with a second wave washing onto U.S. shores, the worst may not be over yet.
As you lead your company through this crisis, watch your step. These five leadership mistakes could cost you:
1. Failing to Address the Pandemic
In today's world, a global pandemic can seem like a political debate more than a health concern. No matter how you feel about the virus, not taking it seriously can have serious consequences.
It's never a bad thing to be cautious. Wouldn't you rather be over-prepared and not need it than be underprepared and come to regret it?
Talk to your team about the importance of following CDC safety guidelines. Make sure everyone is wearing a mask and giving each other proper distance. Be transparent about how your business has fared in the economic downturn.
2. Laying Off Employees Too Hastily
Unemployment rates skyrocketed in the early months of Covid-19. Many employers realized later, however, that they'd acted too quickly. In a rush to cut costs and stay afloat, they cut ties with some of their key team members.
Your company's culture can suffer if team members perceive that you'll cut them off when times get tough. Plus, hiring replacements can be expensive and even offensive to veteran staff. And there are no guarantees you'll be able to find talent of the same caliber you let go.
3. Asking Too Much
Your company isn't the only entity affected by the pandemic. The lives of your employees and their families are also full of stress and uncertainty. At a time like this, asking them to increase their hours or double their output is unreasonable.
Be respectful of each person's situation. Some may want to work as many hours as they can get, knowing that they are lucky to be employed during a pandemic in the first place. Those who are worried about their health may be hesitant to increase their exposure, and that's OK, too.
4. Resisting Innovation
In a crisis, companies have to innovate. Use creative techniques, like contactless service, to keep your company running. Solicit ideas from your employees, who can bring suggestions from the front lines.
Failure to innovate means letting your business collapse around you. Get out of your comfort zone. It's up to you to turn the page to a new chapter of growth.
5. Giving Up
The worst thing you can do as a leader is give up. During a time as stressful as a pandemic, you need to lead by example. The crisis will end; your company doesn't have to.
Whatever has you worried, realize that there are solutions available. Short-term loans, policy tweaks, and adjustments to your operating hours can all help you cut costs if funds are short. If you're dealing with no-shows on your team, simply setting out hand sanitizer and disposable masks can put workers' minds at ease.
No leader wants to deal with a pandemic, but that's how leadership works: You're in charge through thick and thin. Learn from the mistakes others have made, and use this time to build a stronger business.