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Changing as a Leader During COVID-19

Updated: Jul 16

By Meg Knight |


Photo by Markus Spiske | Unsplash

Being a COO for the globally distributed workforce of an education technology company during the pandemic has required me to pivot my leadership style and has brought different leadership skills to the fore. 


I have moved from spending much of my time doing urgent tasks to now dedicating my days to the impactful ones. I now have the focus and bandwidth to think deeply, conduct in-depth research, and collaborate as needed. In a few short weeks, I have been able to develop processes and implement actions that will have a company-wide impact over the longer term. 


When I was in the office physically, I was often being pulled into daily problem-solving, helping people manage resources, and getting the ubiquitous ‘can I just quickly ask you something’ type conversations.  It was fun, and I felt useful. What I have now found is that my teams are well equipped to make most decisions on their own, and know when they should run things by me. They have full access, but I am finding that they seldom use it.  Not being physically present with them has empowered them to take action without my input.  


This ultimately boils down to increased trust in my teams. Trust that they are skilled enough and competent enough to know what actions to take unilaterally.  Trust that they know when to seek assistance and pull me in. Trust that they in turn are adept at managing their teams, and that the work will get done.  


This pandemic has provided an excellent opportunity for leaders to experience a different perspective on what it means to be a leader in this new business environment.  Coronavirus (COVID-19) is creating a radical shift in the global workforce which will not return to its old ways quickly. We as leaders are facing a new set of parameters, and it is up to us to use this time wisely. 


AUTHOR

Meg Knight - Chief Operating Officer, Construct (Cape Town)