Leading through change – effective leadership during COVID-19

  • By Charlotte Butcher
  • 6 May 2020 09:00

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated one of the most disruptive periods of change in the accountancy profession’s history – making the need for effective leadership greater than ever before. Implementing change is arguably one of the most complex things a leader can do and whilst our current situation presents challenges, it also provides many opportunities. The acceleration of digital transformation for many firms is a great example of this, with this change having a positive impact post COVID-19 and beyond. We share below some key guidelines to help you lead effectively through change and navigate your practice through these uncertain times.

Over-communication will rarely be a problem

You’ll probably have lost count of the amount of times you have seen “communication is key” across blogs, podcasts and videos over the last few months. We can assure you, it’s there for good reason! Keeping lines of communication open during these times and involving employees in the process of change, makes it more likely they will get on board. It is rare that someone will complain about too much communication. Change is difficult and can often be unsettling – give your teams the opportunity to share their ideas, concerns and suggestions throughout this period with you. This open communication also provides you with fresh perspective and experiences, allowing you as a leader to consider things you may not have done or thought of previously.

Change is the only constant - remain agile

Although guidance is changing on an almost daily basis and you may not have all the answers, it is important to make quick decisions during these times and remain agile. As a leader, allow yourself time to review and reflect on the situation you are in. Sometimes plans do not work in the way you initially anticipated; have an open mindset to accept this, learn from it and adjust for future decision making. Don’t be blinkered once a plan is set in place – “failing fast” is key to keeping things moving forward effectively.

Collaborate and empower

During uncertain times, it may feel scary to let go of control and delegate tasks. Allowing autonomy to your people in times of change not only builds trust, but also creates future-proof teams who can adapt, work under pressure and have been instrumental in making change happen. A great leader brings people together to plan and execute change – understanding that there may be a better person than themselves to lead on a project. Including employees in this way increases engagement to change, as well as providing you as a leader with some alleviation from the understandable levels of pressure you may be under.

Finally, celebrate the successes

Acknowledge and celebrate the great things you have achieved during this time and let your employees know how much you value their positive contributions. Take some time out of the day-to-day to share your stories – this may be on your intranet, on your website, or at a team meeting. Praising your team on what you have all collectively achieved (often in a very short period of time), will give you the motivation when things feel tough, which in times of change is inevitable.

Do you require further support? 

Our COVID-19 Resources Package designed to help you keep up to speed with the latest business and individual impacts of COVID-19 related announcements and legislative changes. Access a range of resources including podcasts, videos, blogs and much more. This new resource is included in membership and can be accessed by logging into your account and clicking on the COVID - 19 link within the ‘My packages’ area of ‘My Account’. 

Not a member? The package is available for just £100+VAT for firm-wide access. Contact our team to find out more on sales@mercia-group.com or 0330 058 7141.

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