A leaders biggest role in the post-pandemic world will be to build psychological safety
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > A leaders biggest role in the post-pandemic world will be to build psychological safety

A leaders biggest role in the post-pandemic world will be to build psychological safety

by Freya Lucas

January 19, 2021

The successful leaders, post-pandemic, will be those who can build a sense of psychological safety amongst their teams, according to a new report by the CEMS Global Alliance.


COVID-19 has profoundly impacted businesses and teams, with 87 per cent of respondents saying that leaders will need to have greater resilience and faster decision making in order to be successful in a post pandemic world. 


The new report draws from findings of a survey of 1,711 business leaders and young professionals, making recommendations including:


  1. Leaders must build psychological safety for people to thrive under pressure.
  2. Business educators must reframe learning, for example, mentor rather than lecture.
  3. Young professionals must take ownership of their own paths and adopt an innovative mindset.


While the majority of survey respondents reported the pandemic had profoundly impacted their business and teams (87 per cent), there was no consensus on whether this change would be positive or negative. 


Over half of respondents said there will be both positive and negative changes, 26 per cent said the impact would be mainly negative and only 19 per cent said it would be mainly positive.


While the primary role of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services will always be to educate and care for children, the sector is increasingly reliant on strong business practices to maintain consistent staffing levels and to remain competitive and viable in a crowded landscape. 


“We have seen from the experiences of our global community that COVID-19 has accelerated change in attitudes, expectations and mindsets; a shift from the rigid structure and systems that have long characterised organisations and models of leadership to something more flexible, open and agile. In short, we are seeing a shift to something that feels more human. And we are seeing it in real time,” Professor Greg Whitwell, CEMS Chair and Dean of the University of Sydney Business School said.

“The pandemic has given leaders a rare opportunity to question the status quo, and to redefine business-as-usual. It has laid bare deficiencies in the more traditional ways of thinking about leadership and about education, revealing a certain structural rigidity.”

When asked how far into the future the crisis will impact business operations internationally, over a quarter of those surveyed (28 per cent) said their company’s operations will change permanently as a result of the pandemic.


Among the report findings is a rebalancing of global and local supply chains, and encouragement of remote and flexible work arrangements.


“While the pandemic has been devastating for many, it has also given us a lens through which to assess operations, to take stock of the questions that too often elude leaders caught up in the day-to-day pressures,” Professor Whitwell said.


To access the findings in full, please see here

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