The Challenges of 2020: What We've Learned & How to Move Forward

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The global pandemic continues evolving, and businesses are facing significant challenges. Because of the restrictive measures taken to combat the virus's spread, many сompanies have encountered a new reality. This new reality includes the need to move to remote work, economic instability, and unusual ways of doing business.


Maintaining a working spirit while moving to a remote location has become a real challenge for business. This transition has became a serious stress point for companies and employees who have never practiced working from home. Business owners admitted to facing unexpected obstacles including:

  • chaos, panic, and disorientation among employees
  • lack of control
  • desync with the team

Leaders must prepare to meet challenges that require different management and performance styles in order to survive in the future of work. Those who fail to adapt their styles will surely lose credibility with their teams; however, the pandemic will boost the emergence of strong and more resilient leaders.


What specific challenges will leaders need to tame going into 2021?


1. Management of Distributed Teams


Today, most employees work remotely, and leaders need to organize their work so that employees from different locations continue to work as a team. With the transition to remote mode, the team management style begins to change. From directive, it changes to mentoring style, then to supportive, and finally, it becomes delegating. It is better to assign tasks to a remote team in the SMART format:


S - specific

M - measurable

A - achievable

R - relevant

T – time-bound


2. Ensure the Safety of People & Business Processes


This challenge varies in different business areas, but many companies continue to work with the people so being exposed to the virus is a risk that must be evaluated. During a pandemic, the undisputed priority of a leader is to provide for the safety and well-being of their staff. Employees will not be able to work effectively if they feel they are in danger or they are putting their families and loved-ones at risk.


The two main questions a leader must answer at this time are:

1.Whether the team is safe

2.Whether the team can cope with critical tasks


It is crucial to monitor the situation, provide a safe workplace, and offer the employees the support they need. Moreover, a leader must conduct training on working conditions during a pandemic to increase staff and the company's preparedness to take an effective response in urgent situations.


3. Development & Implementation of New Strategies


The pandemic has forced many companies to restructure and conduct business in new ways, adapting to circumstances, finding and using new opportunities. In these circumstances, it is especially vital for leaders to be able to develop new strategies and guide the team to implement them.


The right approach is to see the crisis as an exclusive chance for transforming the business. It is a chance to learn and gain new skills. This crisis is an opportunity to assess the company's efficiency and understand why it is low. If so, this is may be the right time to change the business models. The key point is to catch up with the rapidly changing demand for goods and services.


For instance, car manufacturers switched to the producing lung ventilation systems, distilleries began to produce antiseptics, restaurants offered take-out, curbside, or delivery services, and  academic essay writing service started offering remote classes. Leader needs to seek for a niche that is currently in demand and possibly adapt their business model.


4. Team Motivation


Remote work is effective only with the mutual trust of the manager and team members. To build this trust, leaders needs to learn to understand what is essential their employees' needs. Based on specific needs, it is possible to boost productivity thanks to an individual approach and human attitude.


When working with a remote team's motivation, one can also resort to the Drexler-Sibbet team performance model. It represents the seven phases a leader can use to guide their team members.



5. Management in Limited Resources Conditions


Today, many leaders face the need to work with limited amount of resources. Company incomes have fallen below the expected level, some employees have become redundant, and supply chains have been disrupted. In times of unpredictability, business owners have two patterns of behavior:


1.Neglect the situation allowing it to damage the company performance 

2.Transform it into an opportunity


Uncertainty forces leaders to quickly navigate in an environment where there is no clear understanding of the team's roles and division of tasks.


2020 has dramatically changed how business is done and has become a serious test of strength for many leaders. But it will strengthen one undeniably positive tendency – the world will get more robust executives. Accordingly, it will lead to more cohesive teams and greater business innovations. 


How can your organization thrive in the future of work? DH has created a strategic people plan to help uncover gaps and move your culture into the future.

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About the Author

Haley Osborne

Haley Osborne is an active freelance writer. She is interested in management, web design, and writing. Regularly touches on the topics of self-development and modern trends. Her goal is to provide quality and inspiring content.


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