Are you concerned about the craziness caused by coronavirus? Many of my readers, podcast listeners, and clients have reached out and I’m here to address your concerns. Take a deep breath, wash your hands, and let’s talk about what you, as a positive leader, can do in your sphere of influence.
Let’s begin by revisiting the definition of a positive leader. Positive leaders:
1. Take a strengths-based approach by looking for what is going well and leveraging what we’re good at; and,
2. Doing what’s right because it’s the right thing to do.
What does Coronavirus look like through a positive leadership lens?
While uncertainty is running rampant, it is imperative that you take personal and professional precautions. This is not the time to tune out the news, no matter how negative it sounds. Staying informed allows you to take positive actions.
There is no denying the negative impact felt by market crashes, business closings, employees forced to work from home, or come in and risk their health.
BUT, remember, inside every problem, lies opportunity, especially when you look at it through the positive leadership lens
First, take action to protect your employees and clients by instituting new policies around health, hygiene, and wellness in the workplace. This is an opportunity to answer the wakeup call for healthy personal habits, to become more mindful of our actions.
I’ve received numerous emails from organizations reassuring me of their newly enhanced sanitizing procedures and hygienic precautions to help ensure clients’ health and safety. Contrast this to an email from my favorite hot yoga studio which outlined ways I could protect myself and not one word about what they were doing to protect me. Epic fail! If your business involves in-person interactions, you need to take action and communicate what you’re doing to provide reassurance for both your employees and customers.
Second, realize this goes beyond you and your organization. Curbing effects of coronavirus reaches well beyond business walls and into our homes and community. Please note that taking precautions is not just about you. It’s about ensuring you do not infect your family, friends, and loved ones who are medically vulnerable. It’s the right thing to do.
With those two basic steps in place, we’re ready to really put our positive leadership into action…by getting creative and innovative. Here are just a few ideas and strategies to get you going…
· Take advantage of cancellations to ramp up on projects you never had time to start. A professional speaker friend who lost a ton of revenue due to multiple conference cancellations isn’t hiding out. He’s putting positive leadership into action by tackling all those long-term creative projects that have been neglected when he’s usually super-busy and on the road.
· If business-as-usual is temporarily bottoming out your bottom line, think of different ways to bring in business. Jet Blue and United are proactively offering savings for customers who purchase tickets right now and use them before the end of the year. They won’t let being grounded delay sales. They created a new flight path to navigate this crazy turbulence. Airlines are one of the businesses being hit hardest right now. If they can get creative, so can you.
· Airlines are waiving change fees and crediting full ticket amounts. Concerts, events, and conferences are offering refunds. No one wants this because they’re all losing money, but they’re don’t the right thing, and ultimately, they will build customer loyalty in the long-run.
· Doing good by employees is good business, too. Back in 2001, Southwest didn’t lay off a single employee even though they were losing $5 million a day for weeks following the 9/11 attacks. In an effort to do this again, the CEO just took a personal pay cut, and the company is taking other measures. United is following suit to let employees know they are sacrificing in solidarity to help keep the company together.
· If you’re unable to ask employees to work from home, consider implementing modified sick-pay or sick-leave programs. Trader Joe’s just did this, and Starbucks is providing up to 14 days of catastrophe pay for employees diagnosed or exposed to someone with the virus.
· No doubt those working in the stock market or related fields are taking a hit. The market downturn has an upside, though. It’s a great time to buy!
These are just a few examples of what some organizations are doing to find good and do good during this global calamity. I hope these examples ignite a spark of hope and shed light on the many ways you can respond as a positive leader to help yourself, your employees, and clients.
Like all other crises, this too shall pass. Every challenge offers an opportunity to emerge stronger as you and your organization build resilience by maintaining a positive mindset.
It’s true that necessity is the mother of all invention and this is the time to innovate, reinvent business models, leverage technology, and build something new. Challenging times force us to think differently and Coronavirus is giving us the opportunity to create new possibilities.
Stay positive and set a positive example by using the positive leadership lens of taking a strengths-based approach and doing what’s right because it’s the right thing to do.
Tell me what you’re doing in the midst of Covid-19 that sets a positive example. Or, if you have more questions about it, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing from you and appreciate you.
If you want more on this conversation, just check out my podcast about it: What Positive Leaders Can Do About Coronavirus
Also, if you want some simple practices that can increase positivity in your workplace, or if you’re stuck at home, download my book for free at 25 Tips for Leaders: How to Leverage the Science of Happiness to Increase Performance, Productivity, and Profitability.