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Testing Roles of Business Leaders During COVID-19 & similar Crisis!

Testing Roles of Business Leaders During COVID-19 & similar Crisis!

What is the role of a business leader during a crisis? This is a question that many people are asking as the world faces COVID-19 and a globally deepening crisis.

During a crisis, businesses need to adapt quickly to survive. This is especially true after what the world witnessed during COVID-19. Business leaders are active in crisis management to keep business afloat.

Churning on a similar idea, Jaipuria School of Business organized a seminar, ‘Leadership during Challenging Times’, to highlight the role of leaders during a crisis. For an insightful discussion, the session was led by Mr G. Sathya Narayanan, Managing Director- South Asia, Galderma India Pvt Ltd. The goal was to guide the students about the role of business leaders in a crisis like COVID-19.

Introducing himself, Mr Narayanan talked about Galderma, which in 2014 was wholly owned by NESTLE. Galderma, he said, is the first largest dermatology company. He explained how the company went into crisis but smartly managed to scoop out with excellent contributions from employees and stakeholders.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, every company went through a phase comprising factors like rebuild, resilience, re-bounce, and reimagining. This accompanied with additional loss of revenue and income generated from a business,” Mr Sathya added.

He briefly talked about the scenarios his teams and organisation were facing and told that his team’s morale and motivation were low during the time of crisis.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, every company had some priorities, and they were bound to stand still on them. Some wanted to take full charge of the supply chain and Cash and cash flow management, while others were focused on customer engagement, employee engagement and maintaining office guidelines. But, the topmost priority for leaders was to the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of the business and the staff,” said Mr Narayanan.

An ideal and outgrown leader stayed calm, confident, courageous, empathetic, and resilient. “A good leader should express a vision, communicate, act, seek clarity and should keep things simple,” he said.

Mr Narayanan, during the interaction with the faculty and students at JSB, outlined a need to redefine leadership competencies.

He said that there are some things that leaders can do to stay competent:

  • Being resilient: Leaders must maintain a confident, positive attitude throughout the crisis.
  • Drive engagement and lead virtually
  • Situational adaptability
  • Managing complexity

Not focusing on problems and challenges, Mr Narayanan also discussed some measures on which leaders must think and act.

“Leaders need to resolve, be resilient, plan a return with reimagining for better reforms,” he further added.

Citing the example of how GALDERMA took measures towards health and wellness, he explained how the organisation opted for motivational sessions.

“At Galderma, we were focused on paying attention to addressing emotional issues and solving them in the best possible manner. We provided PPE kits, did mindfulness activities like yoga, organized COVID vaccination programs, helped employees with insurance to emerging out of the problem,” elaborated Mr Sathya.

With a delighted smile, Mr Narayanan explained the positive impact for GALDERMA.

“Our company noted a percentage increase in the employees, learned to launch product virtually, VEEVA CRM word day COUPA and many more such learnings awaited us,” he said.

In conclusion, Mr Sathya said that crisis is the period that not only tests leaders but also proves their managerial skills and capabilities. The session was insightful and beneficial for the students as well as for all the other attendees.

Jaipuria School of Business emphasizes the advanced learning of students through experience and caters to this idea through seminars and workshops. The seminar was attended by students and teachers with a vast attendance where they learnt about leadership and its role during challenging and crisis like situations.