Business Leadership in the Year of COVID-19

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Category: Business in Asia, Useful Tips
Business Leadership in the Year of COVID-19

Although we expect leadership in business to be a daily challenge, now more than ever has it been more difficult due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many business leaders and CEOs have had to deal with extraordinary measures to continue the survival of their companies.

Have a look at our previous article on A Business Survival Guide for the COVID-19 Crisis

The COVID-19 certainly provided various insights into the decision-making of business leaders. Let us have a look at some of these points.

Survival mindset

The times of crisis dictate the most difficult decisions business leaders will have on their plate. If they were to make tough decisions, this is because they have a survival mindset. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forced many business owners to shift to a survival mode. Although a lot of small businesses find it hard to survive, their will to survive has not diminished. Moreover, their survival also depends on how much they are willing to let go or compromise.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, many companies had to face some of the following challenges:

  • Cutting salary or bonuses for their employees;
  • Terminating employment contracts;
  • Offering furloughs;
  • Canceling upcoming huge projects or branch openings;
  • Closing or shutting down their business at last.

Furthermore, companies also suffered from the nuances of managing remote work arrangements and ensuring compliance with the law in terms of employment-related rights. Business leaders with a survival mindset will continue to stay afloat even though COVID-19 may persist in the coming year.

Have you read? Closing Your Business in China and How to Deal with It

Resilient and compassionate leadership in business

Resilience and compassion are two of the qualities a business leader may have manifested throughout this year. But with ongoing uncertainties, it is possible that more drastic decisions must be made to survive. Thus, it will be difficult to stay resilient while at the same time becoming compassionate to people whose livelihood depends on the decisions business leaders have to confront.

To show resilience and compassion, business leaders need to tackle the problems with alternative solutions. For example, instead of bluntly cutting paychecks or reducing headcounts, business owners can agree to pay for flexible work arrangements. Salary cost reduction may be the first quick step to survival, but it may compromise productivity in such a way that the most skilled employees will choose to leave.

Resilient leaders understand that emotional intelligence is also crucial to making a pragmatic shift in the conduct of business. Therefore, CEOs and business owners should determine the change in their employees’ priorities in times of crisis.

Purpose-driven business leadership

A purpose drives a decision process. Purpose-driven business leaders pay close attention to their organization’s purpose. Employees who have a greater sense of connection with this purpose will remain steadfast in helping the company recover after a hardship. Moreover, customers tend to be more loyal to purpose-driven brands. Thus, purpose-driven businesses are reportedly faring better in COVID-19.

Company leaders must always identify their purpose. When faced with hard decisions, they can use it as their guide to begin the transformation they want to achieve. During this COVID-19 era, digital transformation is one of the things business leaders aspire to achieve as the need for a more efficient and safer way of working has increased. Many companies have accelerated digital transformation as a response to COVID-19 where consumers also get accustomed to digital consumption and online platforms.

Business leaders who present an authentic purpose can pursue digital programs that are more focused on value creation. More importantly, they can digitalize on one side and humanize on the other side by incorporating new ways of working.

You might be interested to read about Digital Transformation and Human Adaptation in the Making

Thriving in the future

Put together, a business leadership anchored with a survival mindset, resilience, and compassion as well as purpose can have a thriving future amid obstacles. Company leaders should be able to regain confidence in any daunting period.

Under increased pressure more than ever, business leaders should also learn to take care of themselves and tap into new sources of energy. Being a leader with critical decisions to make can feel lonely at the top. Thus, they have to break away from this tendency and try to sustain a balanced life. Families, loved ones and even employees can become new sources of encouragement, trust, and objective information to help in key decisions.

Contact us

Consult with professional business consultants to help you navigate through the challenges of the upcoming year ahead. Our firm has successfully fared through hard times, beyond the SARS crisis and the current COVID-19 pandemic. We provide financial and business advisory services to small and medium enterprises in China that are eager to remain resilient. Contact us to make an appointment.


S.J. Grand’s Kwikdroid has also revolutionized the way we work. Although a Cloud-based company solution, Kwikdroid strikes the balance between digital transformation and human adaptation. Our local and foreign experts utilize Kwikdroid to provide a more efficient service to our clients. Kwikroid is a half-robot, half-human companion that can cater to all your business needs.

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