Assess the strength of your organization’s leadership culture    | 

Assess your leadership culture  |

Is Your Company Suffering From Organizational Long Covid?

Note: A version of this was previously published on Forbes.

The concept of long Covid has become widely recognized, denoting the extended health complications some individuals experience after the acute phase of the virus. It is believed that a small, yet significant proportion of people endure this condition, which can persist for an extended period.

These chronic symptoms, ranging from persistent tiredness and cognitive disruption and brain fog to enduring joint discomfort, can be incapacitating for those afflicted or those close to them.

Lately, my interactions with a number of high-level executives and business leaders have revealed striking similarities in the challenges they and their companies are facing. This pattern led me to contemplate whether businesses might deal with an analogous issue: an organizational version of long Covid.

Fatigue, Uncertainty And Strain

Just as individuals confront a drawn-out struggle with various health complications, many companies are facing parallel challenges. The primary symptoms I’ve noticed within organizations with long Covid include an overall weariness among leaders. The corporate world and its leaders are fatigued. The constant strain to adapt, pivot and stay competitive has left many feeling drained.

The second symptom is one of strategic uncertainty: The volatility and unpredictability in business have led to a foggy understanding of corporate direction. I’ve found a noticeable misalignment among leaders, creating a sense of paralysis and uncertainty in steering their teams. Without clarity, a sense of passion, purpose, and enthusiasm disappears.

Finally, there is a significant operational strain within organizations, which is akin to having joint pain. The “joints” within companies, that is, the degree to which departments, business units and functions work together has weakened considerably. The once-prized nimbleness has faded, causing processes to become cumbersome—everyone seems to be working at cross purpose. As a result, strategy execution is at risk.

Looking To The Future

Reflecting on the situation and current conversations with executives, it is evident why businesses are struggling. During the pandemic, leaders and managers performed remarkably to guide their teams through immense complexity. The crisis demanded their full attention, often at the expense of leadership development and routine interactions, which are now sorely missed. The compounded effects are now taking their toll, with many leaders feeling unprepared for future challenges.

So, how do we move forward? Here are seven actionable steps to consider.

  1. Acknowledge the reality. Recognize if your company shows signs of organizational long Covid. Are your leaders and managers exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned above?
  2. Prioritize strategic clarity. It is critical to ensure that your strategy is understood across the board. Take proactive steps to reaffirm your company’s objectives and ensure alignment.
  3. Update leadership expectations. Reflect on what you expect from your leaders in the current and coming years. With the pandemic receding, it is time to redefine these expectations.
  4. Balance workloads. Continuously evaluate and manage the workloads of your leaders to prevent overwork and burnout while promoting periods of rest and recovery.
  5. Empower decision-making. Grant your leaders the freedom to make decisions that align with their team’s needs, fostering innovation and a sense of responsibility.
  6. Foster a community of leaders. Create support systems such as peer networks and mentorship to offer a space for leaders and managers to share insights, gain support and promote well-being.
  7. Reinforce leadership development. Reinforce the importance of leadership growth. The hiatus in development has had consequences, and it is crucial to prepare leaders with the skills and mindset required for navigating uncertainty and leading resilient teams.

By adopting these strategies, companies can nurture a supportive environment that empowers leaders to successfully guide their teams and drive their organization’s success into the future.

About Leadership Contract

We are Leadership Contract Inc (LCI), your partner in strategic leadership development. We help you operationalize leadership accountability at all levels of your organization so you can drive strategy, shape culture, and spark change.

Follow Us

Drive strategy, culture, and change

We help you scale leadership accountability across your organization.

It is the fastest way to help leaders successfully navigate their most complex business and leadership challenges.

Boost Your Organizations Performance and Culture

Register for our webinar to dive into our recent research.

You’ll learn how Leadership Accountability transforms organizational cultures and creates high-performing organizations.

See the impact of our research

Accountable leadership is a key differentiator in strong business performance vs average or low performance....
This ebook reveals why leadership development programs are failing to deliver value and the 4...
Frank explains how multiple, significant changes in the industry are requiring his organization to operate,...

Leadership Culture Assessment

Fill out the form below for insights into the strength of your organization's leadership culture.

Tangible leadership ideas for CEOs, CHROs, and senior leaders

Sign-up for our latest news and thought leadership.