5 ways to lead your team through coronavirus.

Earlier this month, Sequoia Capital stated that coronavirus is the black swan of 2020. Plummeting business and consumer activity, significant disruptions in supply chains, thousands of canceled flights and meetings, and a complete transformation of working methods. With these unprecedented and seismic shifts happening on a global scale, the demand for leaders to steer businesses through unpredictable waters is very real. And with each day bringing more news, legislation, and restrictions, the road is only getting tougher. But spreading positive, usable information is one of the best things everyone can do at this time, so here are five things you can do to lead your business and team through coronavirus.

1. Question the fundamentals 

Times like these require you to question the core structures of your business, where the answers become the basis for adapting to crisis conditions. Do you have a contingency plan in place, and if not, who will be responsible for creating one? Which costs can be reduced without drastically affecting the business? How will your consumer spending habits change in the midst and wake of coronavirus? Are your marketing strategies attune to falling sales? The quicker you can question your business fundamentals, the quicker you will be able to adapt and the better chance you will have of surviving.

2. Update daily

With the coronavirus crisis changing every day, keeping your team constantly informed is critical to instilling a sense of order and control. It’s important for each team member to know what’s happening so they’re aware of how developments will affect them personally as well as for the business to operate as cohesively as possible. Having your business work fluidly as a whole is even more urgent given the precariousness of coronavirus and the increase of remote workforces. Keep everyone informed.

3. Beware of misinformation

Fake news is a dangerous companion to coronavirus, and the amount of misinformation circulating the world is staggering. From conspiracy broadcaster Alex Jones using coronavirus to aggressively sell bulk foods and survival products to Republican California congressional candidate Joanne Wright claiming that coronavirus was made in a Wuhan laboratory, supposedly financed by Bill Gates, there seem to be no limits. Whilst it’s easy to laugh at such outrageous stories, lesser publicized, but arguably even more harmful, fake information can be detrimental to your business. Don’t make any strategic decisions off the back of unreputable, verifiable sources.

4. Adapt for remote working

With an ever-increasing number of employees working remotely, adapting to operating without the usual human contact is essential. Ramping up your communication is perhaps the easiest, but most important part of the puzzle; one-to-one communication is vital for employees to know what is expected of them and what they should be working on, whilst video calls with multiple people do not only substitute for canceled (physical) meetings but help with employees to not feel isolated and lonely, something that can have real effects on productivity. The idea is to create team spirit and boost morale through digital communication, even if in reality you are all spread out.

5. Inspire your team

Black swans are times when confidence reigns king, and leaders are being looked upon to inspire their employees and be a point of reassurance. Whether that’s through honest communication (especially with the troubling facts of coronavirus), determination to get through this pandemic as a team or motivation in the form of positive news from around the world, it makes a tangible difference if leaders confront the realities of coronavirus with a healthy mixture of optimism and realism. That mentality, and not blind optimism, is what will seep into all layers of your business, and ultimately play a key part in you getting through it.


Next read: what we can do together in response to coronavirus