Illustration of leadership with heart

Last week, our CEO Suzi Sosa sat down (virtually!) with Joseph Kopser for his video chat series called Catalyst: Leadership & Strategy in a Changing World. In this discussion, Suzi shares how the COVID-19 pandemic is going to fundamentally change how leaders at work view their responsibilities and what kinds of leadership skills are valued more than others.

Here are four key takeaways from the video chat, which you can watch here.

Leadership training needs to be democratized.

Traditionally, leadership training has been focused heavily on upper management. The idea has been that if upper management learns how to manage, those skills will flow down to lower levels of management, and ultimately to all employees. What this time is showing us very clearly is that it is extremely important for every single employee to develop and demonstrate leadership skills. Every employee needs to be activated and to adopt an owner’s mindset.

Verb helps to democratize leadership training by giving all employees access to leadership training and allows for custom learning experiences at each level.

People need skills to help them to adjust to “the new normal” at work and at home.

We’ve all been hearing people say they “can’t wait to go back to normal”. Others are responding to that sentiment with the reality that we will be entering into a whole “new normal”. The effects of COVID-19 affect many spheres of life, including work life and home life. As we transition into the new normal, many people are experiencing burnout and decision fatigue. Things that may have been routine in our day-to-day lives are now stressful — such as having an important meeting remotely or even just going to the grocery store. We all need skills that can help us handle this exhaustion and transition both at work and at home.

Verb focuses less on technical skills and more on the skills that are extremely applicable in professional AND personal contexts. The skills that employees learn with Verb will last them a lifetime.

Good leadership starts with self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

We believe that in order to be a good leader, you must be a good person first and foremost. Good leaders have a high degree of self-awareness and a high level of emotional intelligence. They know how to manage their mindsets so that they can approach managing others’ mindsets with strength, clarity, and impact. 

Leadership training needs to account for this need for self-awareness and emotional intelligence. It’s about more than training managers how to lead a meeting or how to give feedback to their teams. 

Verb provides an extensive amount of content so that employees can sharpen these skills. One of our most popular collections right now is Manage Your Mind, which includes an activity on building a mental fitness plan.

Manage your energy, not your time.

In the workplace, there is often the question of how best to manage time in order to get things done more efficiently. There is also the unspoken acceptance that from the hours of 9 to 5, and sometimes beyond, employees will be productive. Now, as employees are facing a high level of stress in their personal lives, many are feeling drained. This can make it harder for employees to feel focused and productive at work. And yet, at the same time, employees are feeling more pressure than ever to perform at work in a time when many people fear losing their jobs.

Leaders and employees need to shift from the mindset of managing time to the mindset of managing energy. Employees can not do good work if they are running low energy. That’s why it is important, especially now, to demonstrate to employees that they need to do what they need to do to manage their energy levels. That could mean taking a nap during the day, ending work a little early if they feel their focus for the day is gone, or even taking a mental health day.

At Verb, we have implemented shorter working hours and a no meeting zone two mornings a week to give employees uninterrupted working time. In addition, Verb employees were required to take a full day off, and to actually be totally offline, to encourage a break from work stressors. We found that the team came back feeling refreshed and ready to hit the ground running again.

To learn more about how you can help all employees adopt a leader’s mindset, schedule time to speak with a Verb learning expert below.