Editorial: Leaders learn to know themselves in times of crisis

Editorial by Managing Director, Alexander De Beir


The (terrifying) boss is dead, the (inspiring) leader is alive !

« Sentez-vous mon souffle chaud sur vos nuques fragiles ? »

« Do you feel my warm breath on your fragile necks? »


This expression, used by the Head of State of France Emmanuel Macron, would displease many. It symbolizes a certain management style which is now outdated.

However, it is quite normal for a boss to feel the need to breathe new dynamism into his company to envigorate his employees.


Strengths and weaknesses

In the current context, many leaders have discovered unexpected strengths and weaknesses.

They have had to show a great deal of emotional intelligence while sometimes making difficult decisions. Reassure, find effective solutions to continue the work, encourage remote work. But also dare to change course, to question the way the company operates.

In Belgium, employees experienced the crisis differently depending on whether or not their employer supported them in this unprecedented period. A research by StepStone revealed last June that more than 1 in 5 Belgians (22 percent) considered resigning.


Emerging leaders

According to Hogan Assessment, a personality assessment and leadership development specialist, the leaders most likely to emerge valued from the health crisis will need to be balanced, ambitious, open to new technologies, with excellent communication skills and the compassion needed to support the most vulnerable employees.

The strategy consultancy McKinsey discerns some key elements that leaders will have to combine to prepare for the future: to reconsider the concept of distance, be  resilient, integrate the rise of technology and automation, take into account the evolution of the role of the states, anticipate changes and repositioning in their market, and draw inspiration from new practices born during the crisis.


Project leaders

In his book Employees first, customers second, the Indian business executive, author and philanthropist, Vineet Nayar describes management 3.0 as communicating about one’s vision and values as a business leader, and encouraging everyone to take initiatives and deliver on their commitments. To trust and be grateful. To put one’s expertise at the service of the employees and promote co-construction.

Today, leaders are no longer supposed to be super operational, but to be true Project Leaders, who by their convictions and listening skills will retain their employees and find new ones, find in them the potential that is waiting to express itself.


Allying with the right people

It will be up to the leaders to measure their ability to take on this role, to equip themselves with their skills, or even to ally themselves with people capable of taking on a role, be it temporary, to breathe not a warm breath on fragile shoulders, but a powerful and invigorating wind on balanced teams ready to put all sails out to succeed in new races, in the short as well as in the long run.

These times are great times to get inspired and to transmit the inspiration!


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