CEOs Must Become More Hands-On in the Post-Pandemic World

Hands-on leadership plays a key role in the smooth transition to new normals in business

The time had come for the global workforce to roll up their sleeves, and begin undoing the business damage caused by the Great Recession of 2020. Three of the most strategic areas that businesses need to focus on are rebuilding operations, recovering revenue, and rethinking the organization. While this is certainly easier said than done, it is made more manageable when CEO’s go by the hands-on leadership style in place of more conventional styles. The latter ultimately ends up creating a looming work environment, which has become dated since the pandemic amid business changes. As stated by Yaron Lipshitz, the CEO of collaborative event planning platform AllSeated, “a key lesson from the past year is that CEOs must work with, and get feedback from, all levels of the organization. They need to be in the front lines with customers, big and small, to better understand their needs in times of change.” This leadership style presents many benefits, which include increases in productivity, and much-needed boosts in employee morale. 

A rundown on hands-on leadership

The hands-on style of leadership is considered to be progressive, with all actions stemming from the idea that the success of companies rests on the leadership's ability to engage, inspire, and motivate their employees. This calls for CEOs and other executive team members to take on a more active role in the day-to-day management of the business.

Some of the perks of the hands-on approach, which happen to be timely for the post-pandemic work environment, include improvements in employee relations, better decision-making, and increased levels of collaboration. Naturally, the relationship between leaders and team members improves with regular communication (which is not micromanagement), and plays a key role in making more informed decisions. It also helps leaders develop the tacit knowledge needed to discover new ways to improve internal processes, and make more accurate projections for the future in different areas. Hands-on leadership reinforces the idea that CEO’s are facilitators that encourage their teams to collaborate in harmony, by actively putting themselves in the center of all the action, and directing traffic from the ground.

How to be more hands-on, without being too hands-on

When it comes to hands-on leadership, there is such a thing as too much, and as with everything else, there is a balance that needs to be maintained. As stated in an article on Forbes, a hands-on leader is someone who never fully separates themselves from the day-to-day operations. They are not in charge of overseeing every business process. Some of the most effective traits of a hands-on leader include regular communication with core team members; leading by example; coaching on different business-related tasks, and offering/soliciting feedback to and from team members directly. 

The balancing act comes into play to avoid falling into the micromanagement pitfall. The only employees who should (only temporarily) be micromanaged are newer members who lack experience, or simply need to find their groove in the system. Micromanagement stops creativity before it can start. As such, it’s best for CEO’s to seek opportunities where their hands-on approach would be most appreciated and beneficial, such as before/during/after a crisis situation comes up.

In the earliest stages of the process, the best business leaders will work alongside their constituents in the front lines, and help turn them into advocates of the mission statement and vision of the company in their own unique way. Research from the Harvard Business Review shows that “the vast majority of leaders are not engaging in crucial moments that could help employees see them as trustworthy. This is startling, considering how much money organizations spend conducting employee surveys and reorganizations, engaging consultants and implementing change initiatives.” 

One for all, not all for one

At the root of it all, CEO’s should not be hands-on simply for their own sakes. Rather, the approach should be taken in an effort to benefit employees to improve the overall effectiveness of the company itself. The most natural way to go about it is by starting off in high-level management activities, before breaking into smaller departments and engaging with individuals.

While it will take some time for most businesses to bounce back from the effects of the Great Recession, the leaders who don’t actively connect with their team members are liabilities themselves. Now is the time to work on team empowerment, and it all starts from the top.

Author Bio:

Elvis Dzebic, CEO of Trazi Ventures and an investor in companies like Checkpeople and Unmask.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.