The transition back to life and work after the COVID-19 pandemic is going to be a tricky one. People are scared. Folks have gotten used to working from home. School schedules remain inconsistent which means childcare problems persist. And many of us are still in mourning, grappling with losses of the past year. Not to mention the “COVID Mullet” — business casual on top and pajamas on the bottom — is going to be hard to shake.

Moments like these demand strong and thoughtful leadership, along with careful change management. So I thought I’d share my four leadership rules to live by, with a COVID twist. And in no particular order.

  1. Good leaders ask questions. I learned early on that the best answer to a question from a subordinate is “what do you think?” When our employees and/or staff come to us with questions or problems, it’s safe to assume before they brought the challenge to us they chewed on it some themselves. When working on back to office/school plans, start with a question.
  2. Intentions matter. But they only matter if you share them. Explaining to your reports and those in the organization your rationale, what’s behind the decisions you make, will go a long way to establishing buy-in.
  3. Say please and thank you. But mostly, just be nice. Kindness, generosity, and an understanding that people live lives outside of work will ultimately make you a more successful and effective leader.
  4. Model — be the change you wish to see. When we ask our reports to do things or work in ways we don’t want to ourselves, our leadership is compromised. That means if you’re asking people to work overtime, make sure you’re putting in that extra time yourself.

Read the full article about building leadership by Joshua “Yoshi” Fenton at eJewish Philanthropy.