You may have lived through a couple of pandemics in your lifetime, but COVID-19 has trumped them all.

The global pandemic has infected millions and killed tens of thousands thus far. It has brought the global economy closer to a standstill than any of us could have anticipated. Worse still, it may throw us an even trickier curveball in the fall.

Business leaders world-over are struggling with adversity they could not have accurately appraised even just three months ago. And when times get tough, leaders inevitably show their true colors.

Some will succumb to adversity. Others will get by. Still, others will thrive. Will you mold woe into an opportunity? Do you have what it takes to succeed in a world where COVID-19 is a constant factor?

Based on my previous work and having factored in the peculiarities of the current crisis, I believe the five most important leadership traits are:

  • Maturity
  • Great communication skills
  • Courage
  • Compassion.
  • Emotional intelligence

Mature Leaders Do Not Interpret Negative Situations as Being Permanent

For a mature leader, success is a permanent situation. Setbacks are temporary. COVID-19 is scary and extremely damaging for business, but for a mature leader, it is just another obstacle to overcome. If you find yourself plotting ways to cash in on the trends forced upon the world by COVID-19 and drawing up clear plans in this regard, you are a mature leader.

Mature leaders do not regard setbacks in personal terms. They do not externalize blame for them. They meet the challenges head-on and they turn a loss into a gain on the go.

Rally the Troops 

Communication gains added significance during times of crisis. How do you know that you are a good communicator?

  • You listen and you provide effective feedback.
  • You build genuine relationships through communication.
  • You are always clear about what you communicate and you use formal- as well as informal channels.
  • You do not manipulate. You influence constructively.

A good leader is not afraid to over-communicate on a personal level. Educate yourself on the topic of COVID-19 responsibly and make sure to communicate the same messages as the other company leaders, concerning safety, efficiency, and maintaining focus.

 A Fearless Leader Acts Out of Conviction, Not Feeling

Courage in the context of business leadership is not heroism. The latter is usually the result of an impulse-triggered action. The former is about consistency. As such, it is an integral part of the leader’s character.

Courage is the crown jewel of a leader’s character because it is the source of all the positive traits I discuss here. In crises, the value of courage is multiplied. On the one hand, it inspires the leader to take the right action. On the other, it inspires and rallies people to the cause. A leader’s courage is more contagious than COVID-19.


Courage rallies workers and teams.

Compassion is the Best Companion of Courage 

By demonstrating compassion, a good leader does not show weakness or waste time. Compassion is not antithetic to professionalism and a good leader knows how to leverage its power under non-crisis situations.

Amid a pandemic, compassion’s stock goes up, together with that of courage. People are more susceptible to emotional trauma during such times. They also appreciate humanity and humbleness on the part of a leader more than ever.

Showing compassion and courage, coupled with maturity and communicating constructively is the successful leader’s way of nurturing positive and focused company culture.

Emotional Intelligence Gives a Leader Control Over His/her Thoughts and Emotions 

As I pointed out in my book Cultural Transformations, among other benefits, emotional intelligence lends a leader the ability to keep his/her negative thoughts and emotions under control. Such an ability is extremely important in times of crisis.

By keeping negativity at bay, the leader maintains maturity, integrity, adaptability, and conscientiousness.

Do you possess all of these traits? Not sure what your development needs are? My Strategic-Tactical Leadership Index Survey is a great way to assess your leadership qualities.

Check out my leadership coaching services if you need hands-on expert assistance.

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