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Post-COVID-19, Reimagining Resiliency Part 2: Building Trust

Trust Me, I’m A Leader: Building Leadership Resiliency Post-COVID-19

The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 poses enormous challenges for business leaders, challenges for which most are ill-prepared. In a paper I have written for Mythos Group, I explore four key tenets of building leadership resiliency for the post-COVID-19 era:

1. Positive mindset
2. Build trust
3. Manage fear
4. Transparency

Building trust is an evergreen essential of business management, but takes on even greater importance during times of crisis. 

Crises require business leaders to respond under extreme time pressure, and to successfully navigate the COVID-19 crisis, leaders must continue to build trust both internally and externally. 

During this high-stakes crisis, the desirability of trust is obvious, but leaders often struggle with building and maintaining it. We recommend leaders consider the following four key elements to enhance trust levels among stakeholders – both internal and external:

Empathy: The COVID-19 pandemic has generated significant emotional stress on everyone. By reaching out to their employees with warmth and authenticity, leaders can reinforce that they genuinely care for them not only as an employee, but more importantly as a human being – an appreciation for their hardships, and a genuine concern for their health and well-being. 

Commitment: The most powerful and direct way to signal commitment is for leaders to show up in a highly visible manner and take charge – “walk the talk”. This demonstrates accountability and sends the message that nothing is more important than resolving this particular crisis. 

Expertise: A leader’s perceived lack of expertise in a particular area could easily undermine trust.  If an organization creates a perception of being unprepared to deal with the crisis on hand, its reputation and trust in its leaders will diminish significantly. Leaders can address a perceived lack of expertise by bringing in highly credible third-party experts. For instance, an organization can bring in a third party with specific expertise in public safety and health to alleviate perceptions of leadership’s weaknesses in this area. 

Adaptability: The magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic caught most businesses by surprise. With government restrictions, shelter at home, and other fluid policies to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, leaders are compelled to make tough decisions. By competently demonstrating their adaptability to handle changing circumstances, leaders can reinforce their trust with employees. 

Post-COVID-19, Leadership Resiliency

Building trust takes effort, but enables leaders to generate goodwill, and much-needed room to make the many tough decisions required during and beyond this immediate crisis.

Mythos Group’s white paper, Post-COVID-19, Reimagining Leadership Resiliency, contains more detail on this and other recommendations, and is available to download for free from Papers.