Five Ways Leaders Can Survive and Thrive During COVID-19

By Ilana Zivkovich

1. Find ways to bond remotely.

Social isolation is no joke. Maintaining morale and a sense of togetherness through these unusual times will do wonders to optimize the experience and output possible for you and your people. Get creative! We’re all hunkered down at home, meaning things just got delightfully personal. Lean into it! Use this time to strengthen the connections, far apart though they may be.

2. Play the Long Game.

This time will pass. People will forget a lot of it. But they won’t forget those who rose above. They won’t forget the sense of trust you earned when you show up truly wanting to help them. During this global crisis, where can you give, or support, or go a little farther to make someone’s life a little better right now? The trust you (and your company’s brand) stand to earn (and the stories those impacted will tell) will far outlast this current situation. Focus there. Be the person today you want them talking about tomorrow.

3. When delivering tough information, do so with clarity, compassion and consistency.

Many businesses are facing harsh economic realities. This may mean tough decisions are being made—layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts, etc. The message within your business or your team needs to mirror your reality, your culture and your personality. But, those who are messaging tough news effectively are paying attention to the human side of the communication, are careful not to over promise or overshare (we don’t know what next week looks like, let alone the next few quarters), and are taking the time to walk their teams through the “why” behind decisions. By taking these actions, these leaders are enhancing trust and being a source of stability within the storm.

4. Put your own oxygen mask on first.

Attitude will shape this experience for many of us. Leaders we speak with who are excelling in navigating these times are focused on doing what they know they need to do to keep themselves healthy and whole. As a leader, you are and will be called on to give a lot, to show up with stability and hope. Your bucket needs to stay as full as possible so that you can share the goods with others.

5. Develop market-specific KPIs.

Some truly proactive leaders out there are not waiting passively to hear about market conditions that impact their business from others—they are going after it. To be like them, look critically at your business and the markets you depend on. Develop a list of local/national/international KPIs that your team can track to stay on top of rapid shifts in the market that can and will impact your business. Assign individuals on the team to track specific metrics so that all are involved and can be energized by being part of the solution. Get together frequently (2x/week in many cases) to share results and adapt your immediate strategy accordingly.

Ilana Zivkovich is the founder/CEO of Werq, a strategic leadership advisory firm headquartered in Austin, TX, serving clients around the country and abroad. 

This is a contributed piece to Hotel Business, authored by an industry professional. The thoughts expressed are the perspective of the bylined individual.