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How Business Leaders Can Rally their Team for Success in 2021

Mental health

One step forward, two steps back. A roller-coaster. Peaks and troughs.

There are a hundred and one ways to describe the global pandemic. It has affected us differently however, there is one aspect of all our lives it has had a significant impact on.

You guessed it: Our mental health, especially from a professional perspective. Covid-19 has placed an unprecedented amount of stress on the workforce, with Indians across various industries more exhausted, anxious, and unmotivated than ever before. Over 12.2 crore people in India have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic hence resulting in

While mental health ramifications peaked shortly after the outbreak in March 2020, an online Indian survey has reported that about 40.5% of the participants reported anxiety or depressive symptoms. About three-fourths (74.1%) of the participants reported a moderate level of stress, and 71.7% reported poor well-being.

As we face more of the same in 2021, there’s an onus on business leaders to sustain business momentum and keep team morale high. It’s a trying time for leaders to not only raise the spirits of their teams but to maintain and strengthen their own. However, this is a challenge that can’t be ignored and must be taken head-on. Here are a few of my top tips.

Having a growth mindset

Focus on opportunities that can grow the business, rather than just keep the lights on. For example, look at products and/or solutions that your existing customers can adapt to help increase efficiencies.

From an employee standpoint, prioritize training opportunities to upskill staff so they are armed with the tools and knowledge on how to adapt to rapidly changing conditions. This is more a need than a want, as all companies – in some respect – have had to adjust their business model. Therefore, leaders need to make sure that their employees have the skills that correspond with this.

Also do not forget to seek ideas from your employees, customers and partners, and use these insights to inform your business growth strategy. After all, these are the ones on the frontline.

Focus on productivity, not time

If there’s one thing Covid-19 taught us, it’s that flexible working is here to stay and it may differ for different people. A recent survey carried out by Indeed found that 59 percent of employers were not in favor of remote working in the new normal. Seven in ten said that they would not continue it once the pandemic is over. Three in four employees have reported that there’s been a decline in productivity due to remote working.

According to the Deloitte India Survey Report, business productivity has decreased for 99% of all companies surveyed, although 60% of the companies have reported an increase in individual employee productivity.

Businesses must go one step further than providing flexible working options and support employee productivity as best as possible. Should you cut down on the number of internal meetings during the week? Is a buddy system needed to better onboard new recruits? What incentives can you provide to celebrate great work?

Lead by character, not control

Focus on harnessing the power you have as a leader through character, as opposed to control. With limited facetime opportunities, this has become all the more important. Lean into your values and make your personal ideals and standards known. These inform your leadership style and the more your team can understand you as a person, the better chance you’ll have at cultivating relationships in the workplace.

Keep it simple

Think about when communication has been the most effective. More often than not, it’s all about keeping it simple.

Sounding smart might boost one’s ego and provide a good impression, but it does very little for driving clarity and understanding with people. As leaders, we work with many different types of people – in some cases over time zones, cultures and languages, like me – and it is critical to get your messaging clear.

To truly embrace 2021 and ensure it will be big and bold, we must not dwell or reflect too much on last year. As poet T.S Eliot once said, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” It is time to move on, reset and activate the power and possibilities that 2021 holds and business leaders must lead the charge.

All in all, organisations and its leaders need to be highly optimistic and mindful to deal with uncertainty Covid-19 has brought with itself. Organizations need to employ all their resources and innovations to safeguard their employee’s mental health . If the workplace remains in a good mental environment and  positive high spirits, the process of regaining losses will boost automatically.

(The article has been written by Shiva Pillay, Senior Vice President – Asia Pacific and Japan, Veeam Software and Sandeep Bhambure, Vice President and Managing Director, Veeam India and SAARC)

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