Last updated: Forget the war-time CEO, we need servant leadership

Forget the war-time CEO, we need servant leadership


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Suddenly, like a Black Mirror episode, the internet has become our sole source of human connection. Social distancing, quarantine, and Shelter in Place orders the world over have millions of people sequestered inside their own walls, trying their best to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. 

Those that can have moved to working from home, while still others are out of jobs entirely until this pandemic passes. The markets have all but crashed as the activities of daily life have come to a halt. Governments around the world are issuing relief packages, deferring loans, and more to ease the anxieties of their citizens. 

These are uncertain times like none of us have seen in our lifetimes before. And, if we do this right, hopefully like none of us will ever see again. 

But, how are people coping? How are people managing the stress and the anxieties of a new normal, grieving that of the one we lost, and what are brands doing to help out? Do we need wartime CEOs, or do we need servant leadership?

We posed those questions to the Twitterverse, where people from Cape Town to Cape Cod joined in. 

How to balance work from home and family life

The new challenges posed by working from home were a hot topic. After all, few of us are working from home alone. Now, we all have to fight for bandwidth, and our own space!

But for teams that are getting used to working from home, remember that social etiquette rules from in person conversations apply online, too! 

Though, there has been a softening, it seems on what is deemed professional. So many of us have gotten to know our colleague much better over the last few weeks as children, dogs, and partners find their way into the backgrounds of our meetings. 

Beyond your own team, whether you are doing a daily standup or huddle, like so many on the Tweetchat suggested, remember your contract employees, too! 

It’s also important to take breaks.

Work creep is real, especially when working from home. So many on the Tweechat felt they were working more, not less, under the current circumstances. To better balance work and life, some folks were blocking off lunch meetings with their teenagers, making Tuesday and Thursday nights family game night, or just trying to maintain a sense of normal for everyone

For your own personal mental and physical health, many people are doing online workouts. But the most effective for everyone seems to be just walking outside – while social distancing of course! And, to take it one step further, even practicing social media distancing as well to give your brain a break from the chaos and anxiety. 

This BINGO board is helpful, too!

How a business (local or global) can help in this crisis

It isn’t just employees and their families making changes, either. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are flipping their supply chain to meet the need. 

From LVMH turning their perfumery factories into hand sanitizer factories to local schools delivering their product (a good education) online instead of in person, so many businesses are doing what it takes to help, serve, and get by. 

Servant leadership is needed 

Still, the worldwide pandemic is hurting tens and thousands businesses, proving to be a global black swan for the economy. Some venture funds, like Andressen Horowitz, have called for the “Wartime CEO.” 

Many on the TweetChat disagreed with the sentiment, offering another point of view instead. 

The bigger problem called out by the Twitterverse with the wartime CEO mentality was around delivering value for the shareholders rather than for the employees or the customers, who will be among the hardest hit in this pandemic. 

This is an opportunity to evolve, to step away from nationalistic thinking, and embrace the support a solution for servant leadership in communities at the local and global levels equally. 

The truth of the matter is that we are all adapting to our new normal, at home, in our careers, in our finances, and in our strategies – both short-term and long-term – for how we will move forward. 

Be kind to yourself as you move through this period. After all, we are all grieving the loss of normalcy, and grief must be acknowledged, not solved. 

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