Thought Leadership

Four Leadership lessons learned during 2020

The use of the word unprecedented was truly unprecedented in the year 2020. Users of the online dictionary even elected the word “unprecedented” as the People’s Choice 2020 Word of the Year. This trivia shows what a strangely different year the world experienced in 2020.

2020 was a year filled with many ups and downs for most people this was multiplied by a hundred for the Corporate World. Many companies took on remote working through trial and error, they experimented, and with much effort, they finally got their productivity back to where it was pre-covid-19. We got closer to each other via zoom work calls and embraced the human element. It was a year full of lessons learned and mastered.

We have a long list of lessons but the top 4 lessons that made our list are:

1. Embrace the uncertainty

We have all been on the lookout for a vaccine, waiting for its arrival so that we can go back to normal. However, we don’t know how long it will take for that to happen so while we are in the eye of the storm we need to let go and embrace the changes coming our way.

Many companies have embraced this and moved their workforce to remote working and are doing brilliantly. Dell is a fine example. In his interview for Entrepreneur, Chahdi, Director of America’s HR Operations at Dell Technologies, says: “Support starts with Dell’s executive leadership team members, who work flexibly themselves. We must continually show team members that we trust them to organize their work in a way that meets both their personal and professional priorities.” They have extended themselves to show their trust in their employees, and it is paying off.

2. Take Control

2020 was rife with a sense of hopelessness, but we need to regain our sense of control. If we are in the wrong place right now, we can always change it for the better for ourselves and our team.

Marc Randolph, Co-Founder of Netflix, talks about dealing with problems and taking control, he says, “Fall in love with the problem, not the solution – because if you fall in love with the solution, you’ll chase it trying to find a problem to fit it. If you fall in love with the problem, you’ll learn everything you can to know about why that problem exists, and what efforts were made in the past to solve it, and who has that problem and under what conditions. Then you’ll come up with hundreds of ways to possibly solve it.”

3. Be patient and develop resilience.

It is a skill which takes effort and time to build over the years. From Elon Musk to Mark Zuckerberg, they have all developed resilience against failures and their fears. We cannot let the fear of failure take over.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, talks about resilience, “I always did something that I was a little not ready to do. I think that that is how you grow. When there’s a moment of ‘Wow, I’m not so sure that I can do this, and you push through those moments, it’s then that you have a breakthrough. Sometimes that’s a sign that something really great is about to happen. You’re about to grow and learn a lot more about yourself.”

4. Find the genius in your team.

Why battle through a storm alone, when we have our brilliant teams alongside us? We should take them into confidence, especially during the uncertainties that the pandemic has thrown our way. We can better navigate it when we have many brains to bounce ideas off and make a better decision.

As Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, of LinkedIn rightly said, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” 

The most important lesson this year taught us and was acknowledged by corporate leaders worldwide as well, is to be resilient in the face of uncertainty, accept our flaws and challenges and find solutions to correct them and lastly, embrace the unknown.