Kris Oldland, Editor-in-Chief, Field Service News talks to Kevin Green, former CEO Recruitment and Employment Confederation and the best selling author of Competitive People Strategy about what leadership looks like in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and a global lockdown.
Want to hear more head over to our podcast library @ www.fieldservicenews.com/podcasts and look for Series Five, Episode One 'Kevin Green on Leadership, Strategy and the Economic Impact of Lockdown' for the full episode...
The Importance of Trust Within leadership
The role of leadership has perhaps never been under the microscope more than it is today.
It is in times of crisis that we see strong leadership come to the fore but is there a different type of leadership required for managing an organisation through a crisis. Winston Churchill for example, regarded by many as one of the world’s great leaders was able to galvanise the British during the second world war to somehow bring to a halt the apparently unstoppable might of the Nazi war machine. Yet, in the first election of peacetime in 1945 he led the Conservatives to a shocking landslide defeat at the hands of Clement Attlee’s Labour Party.
As we read, listen and watch about the impact of Covid-19 the war-time analogies continue to flow, it is hard for us to draw any other parallels as none really exist within living memory.
So, are the leadership traits that we're seeing emerge now different to what will be required after the pandemic? Or is it just that there is a magnifying glass on good leadership at the moment and what we are paying attention to is best practice in terms of leadership?
“I think the businesses that have responded most positively and have been the most agile and responsive in in the face of something which is a pretty extreme and very rare event are the organisations who have very clear ideas about how organisations should be run,” Kevin Green, commented on The Field Service Podcast, Season Five, Epiosde One.
"The centre of the organisation is responsible for strategy, long term thinking and some guiding principles and then they devolve decision making to people to in the appropriate place in the organisation to respond to customers wants and needs."
One of the common areas that Green has identified amongst such organisations is that there is an understanding that trust must be embedded across the organisation rather than the absolute approach of a more authoritarian leadership style.
“It's not command and control from the top,” he explains “it's not everything rises to the top but [these companies are applying] very dissipated decision making. Here the centre of the organisation is responsible for strategy, long term thinking and some guiding principles and then they devolve decision making to people to in the appropriate place in the organisation to respond to customers wants and needs.
“Those organisations that have already got that type of leadership, mentality and culture are the ones that have responded most quickly and most effectively. If you’ve got a command and control structure it's very, very difficult for one group of people, that don't have all the facts, [who] aren't in control of everything ,to make decisions on every data point,” he adds.
However, it is not just an efficiency challenge that Green sees in a command and control approach. There is also the heavy weight of burden that this can carry on the leadership team and this can have a significant impact on their own performance as well if left unchecked.
As Green explains; “You get swamped and the pressure becomes quite profound. [To avoid this] the centre of the organisation needs to create direction, clarity and communication for their people and then allow leaders at a local level to make decisions about how best to implement them.
“What this [Covid-19] has highlighted is that good leadership, where people trust their people and trust their managers to make the right decisions in 90% of circumstances and have got the benefit [of that approach] while those are perhaps a little bit more old fashioned [in their leadership structure] have struggled.”
- Find the full episode of this interview and the entire back catalogue of The Field Service Podcast @ www.fieldservicenews.com/podcasts
- Read more about Leadership and strategy @ www.fieldservicenews.com/blog/tag/leadership-and-strategy
- Read more about the impact of Covid-19 on Field Service @ https://www.fieldservicenews.com/en-gb/covid-19
- Connect with Kevin Green on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-green-221a7522
- Follow Kevin Green on Twitter @ twitter.com/kevingreenwnc
- Buy Competitive People Strategy @ Competitive People Strategy: How to Attract, Develop and Retain the Staff You Need for Business Success