How should you lead your procurement team during a crisis? Here’s what you need to do
“The ultimate measure of a leader is not where they stand in moments of comfort, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was certainly onto something when he said that leaders are tested not in not the good times, but in the challenging times – and everyone can agree, we’re certainly experiencing the latter right now. All of us – literally every single one of us across every continent of the world – are experiencing our own unique stresses and pressures, and our leadership ability may not be our focus. But likewise, now is also the time when our teams need us most.
So how do we lead amidst so much uncertainty? We talked to Justine Figo, People and Culture author, and Naomi Lloyd, Director Procurement and External Manufacturing Partnerships Asia Pacific at Campbell Arnotts, to get an insight into how to lead your procurement team during a crisis.
With the coronavirus situation changing weekly, if not daily, helping your team understand what’s expected of them, as well as manage the expectations of executive leadership, can be a challenge. But according to Justine and Naomi, what your team really needs from you at this time is a realistic challenge, and more clarity.
Justine believes that leaders need to have the courage to challenge their team to be productive – but at the same time, understand that there might be significant barriers at the moment:
‘Right now, it’s about taking stock of what is going on for everyone at the moment, and saying: “What is the best possible challenging standard I can set for myself and for my team?”
‘Of course, you need to understand that people will be disrupted, but still have the courage to give them purpose, with compassion.’
Naomi believes while realistic challenges are important, what’s more important is that you realign your priorities with your team – and communicate your expectations clearly, with much more granular direction:
Want to hear more of Naomi and Justine’s great advice? Join our exclusive Supply Chain Crisis: Covid-19 group. We’ve gathered together the world’s foremost experts on all things supply chain, risk, business and people, and we’ll be presenting their insights and daily industry-relevant news over an 8-week content series via the group. You’ll also have the support of thousands of your procurement peers, world-wide. We’re stronger together. Join us now.