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The Herman Trend Alert: Leading in the Time of COVID

This Alert details what you must do – if you are not already doing it.


Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker. Archived editions are posted at

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This Herman Trend Alert is written for my subscribers who are leaders. Whether you have a few employees or hundreds of thousands, this Alert is written to give you the insight and perspective you need to emerge from this pandemic situation with your team intact. Having been advising leaders by gathering information from their people for years, this Alert details what you must do – if you are not already doing it. If you are not yet a leader, please share this with your leaders. If you are already doing these things, please consider this message as confirmation and “Bravo” to you.

Stay in Touch with your People
Obviously, you want your people to be there for you on the other side of this experience. Some of your team members may be just fine; others may not be doing as well. Smart leaders will be connecting with their direct reports on a regular basis. You want to ensure that they know that you appreciate them and the contribution each provides. You also want to make sure that they have the basic physical necessities like food, shelter, and water. You also want to find out how they are doing emotionally. If they or their family are not doing well, get them help. If you do not have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program), there are many local resources available. Please remember that most of us experience fear of infection – to one degree or another.


Have Regular Online Meetings
Many employees are missing the social side of working together in a congregate workspace. Though they cannot meet physically, you can convene meetings on Zoom or some other online platform. Celebrate birthdays and anniversaries of employment online. And when you schedule these meetings, why not follow management guru Peter Drucker’s suggestion and have each team member bring two ideas for making things better. The ideas may be focused on keeping you all connected or how to get started again or actually any aspect of your collective work-life.

Use this Valuable Time to Upskill your People
This, so-called “Great Pause” could be an opportunity to teach your people new skills or give them industry updates or something else that can help them do their jobs better. If your direct reports supervise others, leadership training is ideal. Consider having “Lunch and Learns,” where everyone brings their lunch and you sit together while they eat their lunches.

Create a Future Lab to Think about What’s Next for You
One of my favorite colleagues to follow is tech futurist Dan Burrus. His Anticipatory Leadership program wins high marks from its members. One of Burrus’ suggestions is that organizations create a “Future Lab.” He advises that companies put together a cross functional team of employees who mission it is to look at the future of the organization. My version of Burrus’ Future Lab involves having three of your direct reports focus on some aspect of the future. Perhaps they might explore what your business will look like as our economy and business opens up again? Or who will you need and what resources be required?


Your leadership during this time of pandemic is very important to your emerging from sheltering in place in the best position possible with your team.




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