Steven Weller, CEO Saxo Bank MENA region, shares his thoughts on effective leadership in times of crisis.
As the COVID-19 pandemic ripples uncertainty across the globe, the need for strong leadership is evident in every aspect of our lives. For businesses, effective leadership is always intrinsically important. In a crisis, it is crucial.
While businesses strive for agility, flexibility and success, contingency planning is the first step in navigating a clear direction out of any crisis. Effective leaders must possess an innate ability to step back and assess potential red flags in a landscape that spans well beyond our typical periphery.
Thankfully, Saxo Bank has invested time, money and resources in its crisis preparedness and business continuity plans. This preparation has paid dividends; we have adapted to the rapidly evolving situation with a business-as-normal mindset.
Being a digital-first business has always been a strategic advantage for Saxo. In a coronavirus Work-From-Home (WFH) scenario, the advantage instantly flicked to operational. By ensuring every single team member underwent IT hardware and system training to work productively and efficiently from home, the WFH transition has incurred minimal impact on working processes.
Equally important to preparation, clear communication is fundamental in effective leadership. Open lines of communication are vital for leaders and teams to stay connected and engaged. Modern technology carries obvious benefits. Group chats, team chatrooms and videoconferencing are now key tools in a company’s arsenal; they are vehicles of connectivity and visibility that empower leaders to connect with team members on a personal level.
From a leader’s perspective, it’s also important to remain upbeat and positive – take every opportunity to emphasise success – for the business. Ultimately, teams are only as good as the sum of their parts. Getting the best out of the collective only works when everyone is treated with equal importance, respect and transparency.
Finally, be realistic. This pandemic is unlike anything we have faced in living memory, so take the time to regularly remind teams of the wonderful job they are doing in unprecedented circumstances.