In this episode of our New Ways: Leading in a Changed World Series, Pexip chatted with Brian Ferreira, vice president managing executive partner at Gartner. Brian is a global expert in business and technology trends and executive leadership.
There are four aspects that leaders need to provide people in times of crisis -- hope, empathy, trust and stability. Why are these so important?
According to Ferreira, if you consider how people’s lives have been disrupted, most haven’t experienced a period of turbulence like this before. The scale of complexity in our lives adds to the ambiguity.
“As humans, we want hope … we want to see that there's a future, we want empathy because we want to be heard … and being heard is being honest with us and being transparent ... That comes with trust. We can only trust people when we've got that real connection and there’s that hope, that empathy and that transparency. Those things combined gives you a sense of stability. Even if there's massive risk, it gives you that sense of stability.”
There are organizations and even industries striving to gain that sense of stability for their workforces. Sometimes however, lack of authentic leadership drives employees away.
In one example given by Ferreira, a ‘bricks and mortar’ business had seen more than a 50% reduction in revenue during Covid. The employees working in that business had seen beyond the crisis, they’d experienced things at home in the way all our lives have been changed. They saw that bricks and mortar operations were likely to be less practical in the future. Their leadership however told them ‘we’re going back to normal.’ Despite conversations and attempts at internal communication, there was a fundamental difference in views around recovery perspective between the employees and their leaders.
“Someone said to me that people were actually saying ‘I don't buy the vision’ and ‘I'm happy to go work somewhere else where it's going to be more hopeful and where there's more stability.’”
So, people are not so much worried about risk. Often, they've already managed or assessed their personal risk. They've managed to work through the toughness of the change in our new lives. I sometimes think … that leaders have forgotten that people have already adjusted, and that they’ve seen risk beyond their own leaders and are no longer feeling comfortable in that space.”
This episode was filmed with interviewer Ben Campbell in Adelaide, and Brian Ferreira in Sydney, Australia – using Pexip meetings to bring everyone together.