For a small business owner, leadership skills are never more important than they are during tough times. Covid-19 has created the need for agile leaders who can see the new trends and make a great effort to move their teams in the path of excellence. The pandemic has also highlighted the unprecedented reaction to a crisis, and thus transformational leadership is vital. Tony Otoa, Chief Executive of Stanbic Business Incubator, explains that transformational leadership focuses on individuals in the company to have a role in transforming the company. It requires leaders to adopt to the new normal and innovatively plan for future uncertainties. Business owners tend to get more value from their teams while practising this kind of leadership.


However, we know that many businesses are struggling because the people supposed to lead and support them are still trying to find their bearings. We also understand that the company’s leadership can enhance or destroy the team’s trust and morale. There are a few core ideas leaders can’t ignore. Doing so would put them at a disadvantage. With that in mind, here are five tips to help business owners lead through the current crisis and beyond.


Develop razor-sharp focus: Set aside projects that don’t help the business thrive in the current environment and focus on those that do. You may be working on a much smaller margin than before, so concentrating on the bottom line is more important. Make sure your team knows your new priorities and where they should be devoting their time and efforts.


Be as flexible as possible: It’s never easy to make changes in midstream, especially when those changes involve a team of people with different personalities, circumstances and needs. Be willing to loosen long-standing restrictions if it will help morale. Listening to requests from employees and making changes to help them adjust to the “new normal” will go a long way toward increasing productivity.  


Delegate, but maintain accountability: Request for regular updates or status reports, even if things may be a little chaotic. You’re still steering the ship, so always make sure that you remain on course. If things aren’t getting done, find out why, and make the necessary adjustments. Your business needs to maintain top efficiency to get back on track.


Concentrate on communication: Communication is an absolute must, and it starts with you. Reach out to team members regularly. Check-in individually and hold regular team meetings. Please take advantage of solutions like Slack or Microsoft Teams that let the team communicate with one another. Also, look out for feedback on improving any aspect of work-life or the business itself. 


Recognize good work: Take the time to recognize when team members are doing work that helps the company thrive and survive. It makes a person feel good when their work is appreciated, and it makes others want to show their value. Both of these things can lead to a happier and more motivated team.


We know the pandemic has spotlighted the leaders and is magnifying every decision they make. Therefore business owners are encouraged to embrace these tips as foundational principles that can work, not just during a pandemic but all the time.