Leadership in the time of the coronavirus by Pablo Müller

Leadership in the time of the Coronavirus by Pablo Müller

In times of uncertainty and where everything seems adverse, organizations inevitably think about minimizing potential losses, maintaining productivity and efficiency. But this is not their only challenge, the people, their collaborators, expect a leader who will guide them, recognize them, and transmit the necessary trust in them to overcome this situation.


Traditionally, the concept of leadership has been related to the ability of a person to influence other people and thus enable the achievement of objectives. In the early days of the administration, the figure of the leader was considered primarily as a guide, his function was to set a clear and unique course, through directives that transferred his staff. Its work responded to the conception of industrial society with a classical or Taylorist approach, in which his tasks were carefully studied, standardized, and people considered one more link in the production machinery. As time goes by, organizations also changed and management accepted that it was not enough a leader who was oriented to provide directives to meet objectives since that equation lacked a fundamental variable, it was necessary to have legitimacy and In this aspect, the leader's socio-emotional support for his followers becomes a key element. In this new society, the figure of the leader emerges as one capable of obtaining the voluntary accompaniment of his followers, motivating them to fulfill individual, group, and organizational objectives, contributing to the personal and professional development of their followers. The leader ceased to be a supervisor to be a committed partner to the needs and expectations of his followers. Your performance will consist of the results achieved by yours. The pandemic caused by Covid-19 had a full impact on society and therefore on organizations, leaving us with many doubts about how to manage, the way of working, and the revaluation of many aspects.


The leader as an Emotional Manager


How many times do we hear "personal problems remain outside the door of work", or "you do not have to mix work with personal issues", phrases like these equate people with ice trays, where each space represents part of our life, separated from each other without being able to mix. In the same way, it proposes the segmentation between rational and emotional.

The answer is no, our brain just doesn't work like that. Affective neuroscience has already shown that human beings are emotional beings who have the ability to reason, which we do not always do to the extent that we believe or would like to.

Let's think about the infinite personal realities of the members of the organizations that the quarantine brought with it, older adults who cannot continue with their work, the emotional pain of estrangement, anxiety before the unknown, the latent fear of disengagement, among many others.

In this framework, we propose the leader as an emotional manager, identifying and managing his or her collaborators' emotions. Identifying your personal emotions will allow the leader to process information more cautiously and make more effective decisions and not be a victim of his own emotional impulses.

Regarding his collaborators, the leader must know how to interpret his own, know them, and apply empathetic listening, putting himself in his place and focusing on his emotional state.

This does not rule out the need to meet organizational objectives but complements it to achieve them with committed people who feel part of a whole greater than their individual interests.

Right now, the most important thing is to preserve our most valuable asset, people. Leaders must accompany their collaborators, support them, and mark a path for a better and possible future. Attending and serving is the proposal, like any crisis, we go through danger, but also an opportunity. And so, we may have learned something as a society to move towards a better world.


By Pablo Müller (Journalist) 

Dorset College International Business Student