Wanted: Leaders who can bounce from crises

Wanted: Leaders who can bounce from crises

MUMBAI: Resilience has emerged as the most important trait in a leader steering an organisation. The last two months of uncertainty, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, has resulted in a deep introspection among business leaders. Whatever they have learnt in management schools and the qualities they have imbibed during the course of their careers — be it foresight, experience, humility or courage — have all been put to test. Very few may stand up and say they have not come unstuck. Experts said, going forward, resilience will be the key quality organisations will gauge in prospective leaders. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity or endure hardship.

Gits Food Products director (sales & marketing) Sahil Gilani admits the metrics he measured himself against as a leader have changed entirely during the current crisis. “At this point, I am as new a leader as anyone else would be. It no longer matters whether you have more experience than others in the traditional ways — the measurement tools are totally different with the current situation. The kind of resilience you need today as a leader are different from what it was two months ago,” said Gilani.

In the pre-Covid era, leaders were chosen based on a set of traits, key among which were humility, ethics, courage, experience and execution. Egon Zehnder managing partner Pallavi Kathuria said resilience stands out among a host of others as this is the key trait that will help leaders not just cope but transform as they come out of this crisis. “During a crisis, leaders need to lead themselves and others with resilience. Resilient leaders and organisations led by them recover more quickly from a crisis and learn from disruption.”

Prabir Jha People Advisory founder & CEO Prabir Jha said, “Resilience is a psychological and emotional state to withstand criticism, defeat, setbacks, disappointments and contradictory stakeholder expectations. In the post-Covid world, the ability to take these in your stride and bounce back each time will be vital. The moving parts will be just too many. And we will not always win, we will not always have answers.”

During the lockdown, manufacturers faced a peculiar situation of getting permissions from every state they operate in, and district magistrates were taking decisions on whether a plant could function or not based on Covid-positive cases in their area, and every day was a new day. “Regardless of hurdles of workforce, transport, materials — all of which had to be arranged with great difficulty — one never lost patience or cool and had to have stellar resilience levels to combat the situation, keep the entire team and all stakeholders positive, confident, charged up and convinced at all times,” said Parle Products executive director Arup Chauhan.

Resilient leaders, said Kathuria, don’t see a crisis — they see a transition. “It is a three-phase process from stabilise to cope, to learn, and transform that people go through as they internalise and come to terms with the details of the new situation that the change brings about,” said Kathuria. Even at the workplace earlier, all leaders had to do was spend time outside their cabin and talk to employees. “My intuition led to gauge people based on their body language. One could sense whether or not an assigned work would be carried out. However, it’s difficult to read a person or understand a situation on a videoconference. Leaders will have to imbibe new skills to do that,” said Gilani.

Jha said leaders must look beyond themselves. “Beyond accenting some dimensions like courage and humility, I would look at resilience, comfort with ambiguity, and willingness to be vulnerable as key shifts. There will be situations galore where you will need to think and behave in the moment and what you think, say and do consistently will really define leadership. Unfortunately, there are no cookie cutter formulae any more,” he said.

Going forward, Kathuria said CEOs will need to balance the ‘doing’ aspect of their work — quickly, considering and executing all the business requirements the crisis presents — and the ‘being’ aspect, which embodies compassion, empathy, energy, and resilience of spirit that their followers need to feel safe and motivated.

Till date, CEOs were used to applying the ‘being’ side of their role in large part to serve the `doing’. “Given the enormity of this crisis and the need to actively attend to its massive human effects with empathy and care, while trying to protect and save the business, it presents a new leadership mandate that requires vigilance to keep the two in perpetual balance moving forward. Several critical considerations are rising to the fore, all of which draw upon the ‘being’ and ‘doing’ functions of great leadership,” said Kathuria.

Kathuria said while the fundamental framework and methodology of leadership assessment and development will not change, there would now be more focus on assessing resilience and management of ambiguity, while adding that the experience of leading turnarounds will become more relevant.




About Riya Jain 1991 Articles
Guys, Here I post government jobs, sarkari naukri, jobs information, jobs searching tips, jobs preparation tips etc. Visit my profile and find your desire jobs information.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply