We are living and working in unprecedented times and are all having to adapt to some extent.

For many in leadership roles, this is the first time they have had to deal with this level of uncertainty and ambiguity. And at this time, effective leadership across the organisation is more critical than ever, making the difference between business success and failure, employee motivation and disengagement. In a previous blog I discussed the pressures that line managers are under now that their teams are predominantly working from home.

At Questback, we believe that effective leadership in uncertain times requires the 4 Cs – Compassion, Courage, Consistency and excellent Communication.


Compassionate leaders are able to relate to their employees, show empathy and demonstrate they care about them. They see their employees as people first and workers second; are supportive of the situation they are in and focus on their wellbeing. When employees feel their leader is deeply invested in who they are, they’re willing to offer their best work, helping their organisation to thrive.


Leaders also need to have the courage to act decisively and make difficult decisions quickly. They need to be brave enough to try new things and step out of their comfort zone, making tough calls, and being decisive about courses of action. Agile problem solving has come to the fore recently with decisions that would normally take months being actioned in hours, ensuring that employees and other stakeholders have clarity.


Employees need to trust their leaders, and a big part of this is seeing consistent positive behaviour, and knowing that what leaders say will be matched by what they do. There can’t be gaps between words and deeds. Leaders need to live by their organisational values and continue to act with integrity, despite very challenging circumstances. When leaders are seen as people who keep their word and can be trusted, employees will be motivated to give their best.


And last but not least, leaders need to be excellent communicators who encourage collaboration. Communication lines need to be continually open so that employees are clear on business priorities and have the opportunity to get involved and have their say. Open, honest, clear, and timely communications build trust. And so does listening to employees and addressing the questions they have. Even if leaders cannot address all of the issues employees are facing, it’s important to have awareness and to show compassion and understanding. One of things that has characterised the crisis is the desire for people to step up and get involved. This means that providing the opportunity for collaboration is really important, so where possible give employees the chance to provide their views into what needs to be done to meet changing goals. An environment where everyone can collaborate by sharing their ideas and experience, and use these to offer creative solutions is an organization that thrives.

Feedback to help leaders learn and improve

Leaders at this time have no rule book and need to learn as they go. These are unprecedented times and no amount of training will have prepared managers for the current circumstances. It is therefore vital that leaders seek feedback so that they know what they are doing well and where any improvement should be focused. This covers all types of listening – I’ve heard of some organisations where senior managers dedicate time each week to calling randomly selected employees to talk to them. Along with this businesses should look to embrace feedback technology that can easily be used to listen to employees and act on their insight. It is only by taking on board feedback that leaders can be sure that they are learning and improving across the 4 Cs.

To assist leaders , Questback has created two free solutions to help them gather the feedback they need:

  1. As part of our suite of free experience apps designed to help organisations navigate these uncertain times, we have just launched one which focuses on leadership. This gives leaders the opportunity to gain feedback from employees on the extent to which they lead with courage, compassion, consistency and strong communication.
  2. We are also offering a free trial of our 360 solution, enabling leaders to gain more detailed feedback on their effectiveness from a variety of stakeholders, and to access suggested improvement actions.

By listening and acting on feedback, leaders will be better equipped to steer their organisations through these uncertain times.

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