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When Business as Usual is Anything But, Leaders Must Step Up
Mar 24, 2020 - Joe White, Director, AEU LEAD

The circumstances involving the COVID-19 pandemic are headline newsworthy and will be for some time. A health concern statistically involving few, it has far-reaching consequences impacting many. Given time and distance, it will pass. We’ll learn from the experience and emerge better prepared for the next crisis beyond the horizon.

One’s true character isn’t a reflection of how they handle calm and tranquil seas. It’s peril, uncertainty, and the unknown that provide a platform for those so inclined to rise and step forward. Throughout history, the worst of times has often brought out the best in mankind. The moment at hand is of historical significance and the need for leadership in response to rapidly changing circumstances is imperative. With misfortune comes great opportunity.

Employee’s needs have changed over the past 30 days. Work schedules, family routines, and modern conveniences have been altered or shutdown entirely. Individually, focus for many has transitioned from self-actualization to something far more basic. As evidenced by panic-based shopping behaviors over the past few weeks, internalized needs of consumers are now more primitive and involve food, shelter, and safety.

In alignment with the evolving needs of your employees, company owners and business leaders must respond and transition as well. Employees want and need open dialogue and transparent communications. They want to see calm and decisive leadership that’s forward-thinking and solution-oriented. Perhaps most importantly, employees want to see confidence and reassurances related to the future.

While no one can guarantee what the future holds, we can and should have a vision of what it ideally looks like. Sharing this image is important at this time. It positions a rallying beacon at the end of the tunnel and creates an “all-in-it-together” mindset. While many business owners view downturns as temporary hiccups, many employees view them as something far worse. Helping them see beyond the current moment is a primary objective and helps reduce anxiety associated with the unknown many are now experiencing.

To move forward tomorrow, you must step up today. Your employees are looking for demonstrated leadership that is felt in this time of need. While you’re not expected to have all the answers, you can and should be responsive to recognized needs. No one knows when the current storm will pass. Reassuring employees that it indeed will, however, is an important step towards recovery and business continuity in these unprecedented times.

The opinions and comments expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of ALMA, The American Equity Underwriters, Inc., AEU LEAD or Amwins. None of the aforementioned parties or the authors are responsible for any inaccuracy of content or for any loss or damages incurred by any party as a result of reliance on information contained in this article. Content may not be published or reproduced without the written consent of the authors. Prior articles may not be updated for accuracy as pertinent information changes over time. The AEU LEAD blog is intended to provide general information and should not be construed as legal advice.
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