How Being Human will improve your bottom line in times of Crisis

By Mark LeBusque. Published at Apr 15, 2020, in Features

We are living in very testing times indeed.

I refer to COVID-19 as “business unusual” as opposed to that term we have been hearing for ever in the boardrooms and offices across the world – “business as usual”.

One thing has not changed however...........

Organisations are still made up of humans.

Well intentioned and super adaptable humans who are capable of extraordinary things when faced with a crisis. Things that as a manager you can tap into by adding a real human element to your day-to-day interactions with those in your care.

The secret is to find the balance of what is needed and what is right at a point in time.

So - what else can leaders do in these times to protect the bottom line in the short-term and not just survive but also thrive in the long-term by tapping into Being Human?


The trap many managers will fall into is to come in and “save the day” and go into “boss mode”. This will not work. You will disengage and demotivate the very humans who have the ability to pull together with and for you. These are the very people who will help you to come out the other side of these times in a much healthier state physically, emotionally and fiscally.

Here’s my first five questions, or as I say the “gift” that you give to bring more Human into your leadership in a time of crisis - to move you and your business from survive to thrive in the long-term. The trick is to give these questions to your employees and have them share their answers with you as the manager

  1. What Do You Expect of Me

Right now is the time for equality and not the old way of hierarchy and command and control. By allowing your employees to tell you what they expect of you as a human being it develops a strong “behavioural contract” on the key human needs of trust, empathy, respect, honesty and motive. It’s not about the technical skills right now, it’s about tapping into your humanity.

2. What Is Your Workstyle Preference?

As a manager in these times we can help the humans in our care move from surviving to thriving. Workplaces have been turned on their heads. Working from home is here with us at least for the short term. Human managers will allow their employees to thrive by understanding the conditions for each individual to do so i.e. one employee thrives in autonomy whereas another may need constant reinforcement of a “job well done”. In these times great managers will see individual strengths as a way of bringing about business success. Here is a tip – micromanagement is dead and trust is the new currency.

3. How Do You Achieve Balance?

All of a sudden experts in work-life balance are coming to life as work has now collided with home life. Working from home, turning the kitchen table into your stand-up desk and schooling the kids from home just got real. It also has the potential to create burn out quicker than in the traditional office environment. The smart managers will be having the conversation with employees about finding balance across four key areas – self, work, family and sleep time (community is a little challenging right now). Great ones will take it a step further and get creative in building non-work related goals into the next performance scorecard.

4. What Does Great Leadership Look Like?

This can be a defining moment for a manager looking at a post COVID-19 rebirth. If you have got the gumption for it, ask your employees what great leadership looks like. You see the days of leadership being about titles are over. It is about what you do not what is on your business card. There are too many leadership actors and not enough leadership acts. This is your chance to understand what your employees really want to see in acts of leadership. Be brave and ask the question and then start to mirror the responses.

5. What are Your Three Most Important Values?

If you really want to tap into employee engagement, energy, purpose and meaning then this is a must ask question in these very challenging times. Humans dig deeply into their need for making sense right now and this has them evaluating their “why” and you have a unique chance to allow them permission to do so. This is not the time for the “off the wall” values to be imposed on humans. It is the time for the humans to share with you what really makes them tick, gets them out of bed in the morning and what they live by.

Humans will remember how you treated them in times of crisis, and it is in times like these that you can both protect your bottom line in the short term chaos, as well as inspire and motivate your humans to dip into their discretionary effort that will improve your bottom line as you move to a post COVID-19 world.

Just add more Human.

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