COVID-19 restrictions have disrupted business as usual operating conditions for almost every business. Businesses have faced the difficult task of having to adopt new practices for safe work as a result of the Coronavirus. Furthermore, everyone has had to make significant adjustments to how we move about in public and in many cases, adapting to new ways of remote and restricted working conditions. These new measures have been a matter of public health and there is still somewhat of a haze about what constitutes ‘reasonable steps’ from an employer when it comes to safety leadership and complying with work health and safety obligations. With so much immediate attention put on safe returning to work and supporting a remote working model, little time has been spent considering the various profiles of our people and who will thrive in such conditions and who will not. If we take the view that situations like COVID-19 may become the norm as we live and work in a global business environment, then leadership tools and assessments will become even more important in our overall human capital management strategy.
How do leadership assessment tools help us in a post COVID-19 workplace?
Leadership assessment tools will play a significant role in determining a successful transition to operating in a post COVID-19 workplace. Such assessments will focus on a person’s ability to lead through change and measure their diligence, acceptance of new ideas, attitude toward difficult situations, and the care taken to implement changes. Traits like these were identified in The Hogan Safety Report as indicators of safety-conscious behaviours. Leadership assessment tools such as the Hogan Personality Assessments are useful and have most impact when supported by quality leadership development organisations such as The Leadership Sphere who can help you set up the assessments at each layer of leadership, and navigate an organisation through the many insights that are obtained, as well as the resulting actions to make an impact on your overall leadership capability.
Summary of the key findings of The Hogan Safety Report
People who score highly in this scale show that they can retain their composure under pressure and are capable of maintaining health and safety standards whilst navigating stressful situations. This will be particularly important to keep in mind as you provide leadership development and support for your senior managers post COVID-19. Due to the anticipation and excitement of a ‘return to normality’, the onus will be on staff and management to remain on alert for the smallest infraction. The failure to do something as simple as wiping down surfaces can lead to a significant impact on others. By remaining diligent, we will be able to minimise the possibility of mistakes being made and avoid the potential reputational damage in the event that your business has a safety breach!
Hogan identifies vigilant individuals as valuable to the post COVID-19 workplace due to their attention to detail. Similarly to ‘strong’ individuals, those who keep constant vigilance are less prone to making mistakes that risk the health and safety of their co-workers. Where they go one step beyond is in their ability to not allow themselves to become distracted by their surroundings. They are focused on the task at hand and in this way are prevented from distractions. Vigilance is one of the more challenging areas to build into leadership development programs, yet one of the most important leadership traits when it comes to operating in business environments where safety requirements are rapidly changing, as has happened throughout the COVID-19 global epidemic. At The Leadership Sphere, one of our most popular leadership development programs includes live simulations that test decision making and provide real-time awareness for senior leadership teams with regard to traits such as vigilance and situational awareness.
A ready adoption of and compliance with new health and safety measures is perhaps the most integral trait to have in this new era of business. A person’s willingness to follow these rules without resistance displays their reliability. They accept new policies and closely follow them to protect the health and safety of themselves and others. Compliant individuals are more likely to adapt quickly to changes and can lead through example. In other words, when it comes to work health and safety, we want to make sure we stay on the right side of the law. This has become even more apparent in Victoria, where businesses and officers whose negligent conduct causes a workplace death may be guilty of workplace manslaughter. This has been a heavily debated topic and one which poses even greater threat when new waves of safety requirements come into play, as has happened with COVID-19.
We will face new challenges as many of us step back into the workforce for the first time in a long while. In doing so, we will require training in several new practices. We must be willing to learn and embrace feedback in order to continue moving forward. One of the many benefits of utilising leadership assessment tools for leaders and managers, and a broader range of assessment tools for profiling our teams, is that it gives them direct feedback about how they are viewed by their team in a way that allows for practical application of their results. It is important that you work with a reputable partner such as The Leadership Sphere, to review the results of leadership assessment and profiling within your organisation, because the insights range from strikingly obvious to subtle, and often it is the subtle insights that can lead to the greatest capability gains for an organisation.
In many cases, taking risks can be seen as an act of bravery. This is not true when considering health and safety measures. Cautious individuals are those who will stop to consider the impact of their actions on others before proceeding. It shows an understanding of good risk management as well as demonstrating their capacity to work within a team. Scoring highly in this scale indicates a likelihood of pausing to evaluate your options before making decisions that would be considered risky. During the COVID-19 restrictions, the virtual Dare to Lead program run by The Leadership Sphere had a focus on building courageous cultures and the part of the program that resonated most with senior executives was the notion of ‘clear is kind, unclear is unkind’ and when we consider giving and receiving feedback as being a key component of care, how this makes a significant difference in our own resourcefulness and allows us to provide clarity at every layer of leadership in an organisation.
This is an often overlooked quality in a leader, but is definitely one that many of the best leaders possess. Those who can face difficult situations without rising to anger but instead remaining calm will be well suited to the post COVID-19 workplace. For some, remembering to wear a mask in public or sanitise surfaces after each use has been seen as too much of an inconvenience that they simply don’t bother. When the attitude towards rigorous changes like these shifts from seeing them as being a nuisance to one of acceptance, we significantly reduce the risk of becoming careless or ‘forgetting.’ Those who score highly for poise will be able to manage their frustrations, making them less likely to make mistakes. It is interesting to consider the attitude of our people, and how that has changed over several months as a result of COVID-19, because setting and maintaining standards is a massive part of being a strong leader. Where attitudes change or demonstrate non-compliance to changing safety measures, this provides us with a red flag. After all, COVID-19 is an example of just another episode in an ever changing world. There may just happen to be another COVID-19 waiting to invite itself into our world in the not too distant future.
Being safety-conscious in the workplace is more important than ever as we begin to come out of strict lockdown measures. It is therefore equally important that we understand what qualities will be needed as business operations resume. Leadership assessment tools can be useful in determining where you are well prepared and where you may need to improve. The Leadership Sphere implements the use of a variety of tools depending on what traits are being assessed. This is because there is no one type of assessment that is completely all encompassing. You may even benefit from a variety of job performance assessments at different times in order to gauge a deeper understanding of what type of a leader you are. The key is to work with a trusted partner to understand the ‘why’ of undertaking a leadership assessment and to understand that taking a longer term view to leadership capability development is an investment in your people and your business.
For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can support your leaders with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.