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How can a positive leadership vision help you through the Covid-19 Crisis?

Vision is a powerful Positive Leadership tool to maintain the motivation, the emotional balance and the Growth Mindset of your people during this crisis. We suggest several practical actions to leverage it.

Our model of positive leadership

Today we will explore new ideas to help your teams through Vision.

What is vision?

We all need to look to where we are going.

Vision means two things that you will influence as a leader.

  • Vision can mean what one looks at / to, the motivating destination of the journey, of which you are the guide, the mission, the objective, the direction and the path. It is your “why” and then your “how”. It is your team’s GPS.
  • Vision is also how one looks, the way we see things, the glasses and filters we use in order to perceive our reality, to interpret the situation and consider the journey. Neurosciences highlight, on the one hand, “automatic” vision (one can also speak of limbic, emotional, intuitive, impulsive, rapid, so called System 1 etc.) articulated around one’s personality, experiences, value systems, cognitive biases, mental shortcuts, and on the other hand, “adaptative” vision (or prefrontal, reflective, rational, slower, so-called System 2, etc.) shaped by the ability to be curious, to take a step back, to evaluate with nuance, to reframe interpretations, to question one’s preconceptions and to think one’s way to the best solution.

How can you use Vision to positively influence Motivation?

Homo  Sapiens has an appropriate name. We all are neurologically wired to “make sense” by all means. The first role of the Vision that you propose is to give meaning to action.

The human brain hates uncertainty above all else. If you do not confer meaning to action (or inaction), the brains of your team members will “invent” one by default, to fill the void: “It must be because… If he / she doesn’t tell us anything, that means Is it worth it?…”

The coronavirus crisis puts your teams to the test on at least three levels:

  1. It dramatically increases the level of uncertainty, thus of stress too: “What’s going to happen?
  2. What is the meaning of what you do and the way you do it?
  3. How can you focus on the essential? In other words what makes the most sense.

In practice:

  • More than ever, the first question to ask is: “Why?” ». Start all your interactions, your requests or your suggestions addressing the “why”, either by formulating an answer, or by discussing the response and the possible meaning of the action together. Get inspired by the power of the meaning that people who work currently in food retail, nursing homes and hospitals get from their jobs. It is the “why” that gives them the courage to face the crisis and all the risks at which they are put, nothing else.
  • The crisis makes us switch to “disaster recovery plan” mode. The available and usable resources are much more limited than usual, so focus on what’s most essential and postpone the rest. Explain why it is essential. And since you are not an all-knowing being, discuss it with your teammates, to invite them to generate this vision and set clear priorities together. Get inspired by the Intensive Care Unit teams that debrief the events of the day, exchange explanations and discuss the next priorities together.
  • Pave the way as much as possible. Reduce uncertainty or misunderstandings any time you have the opportunity. Imagine your colleagues at home for most of them, juggling teleworking, childcare, family organization and logistics, looking for useful information in order to adapt. Carefully consider whether your messages are sufficiently frequent, specific, clear and precise about the goals, the actions and the means.

How can you use Vision to spark positive Emotions and Feelings during the Covid- 19 crisis ?

In the current circumstances, “positive feelings” almost sounds like an insult. It is nonetheless something that everyone needs in order to find some form of emotional balance, and perspective. A powerful way to do that is to connect to our common values. In any team, the Leader is the architect of the value system, in other words what is being valued, what is considered “good” or “bad” by the group. We make about 35 000 decisions per day, of which 34 900 happen on “autopilot mode”, either guided by our habits, or piloted by our values.

Values are what is important to us, what guides us, then what makes us proud, satisfied, enthusiastic, committed, aligned, solidary.

In practice:

  • Reaffirm as often as possible the values of your organization, which animate your suggestions, interactions, requests or decisions. They are your common compass, indispensable to navigate through the storm.
  • Link the current situation to your primary values,no matter the way you choose to express it: “saving lives”, “feeding the people”, “safeguarding the sustainability of the company”, “solidarity”, “creativity”, “serving the customers”, “being useful”… The question we should all be asking is: “How can we stay true to our values through the crisis?”. Here are some examples, applicable if our primary value is:
    • Respect: determine together a respectful manner for contacting your colleagues who work from home, for example by giving prior notice, by agreeing on a particular time, etc.
    • Safety: take the necessary precautions and give access to the proper equipment (take a look at the actual outcry against the shortage of masks and gloves).
    • Collaboration: develop tools and processes in order to cooperate despite the distance, so that no one feels isolated.
    • Creativity: give your team members more autonomy regarding the usual procedures, and trust that they will bring forward their own adapted solutions, etc.
  • Ensure that your individual and collective decisions pass the test of your values: which values should guide us before we make this decision?”, “What would a behavior that respects our values look like, in this instance?”, “Does what we are about to propose/decide match our values?”.

How can you use Vision to manage covid 19 crisis with an adaptive Mindset?

The coronavirus has brought an unprecedented amount of novelty and complexity. Your values will give you the best of your automatic intelligence. However necessary it might be, it is not enough. Automatic intelligence – our habits, experiences, personalities, values – is meant to guide us in simple or well-known contexts. Outside of that, it puts us under stress.

Facing complexity and the unknown without losing one’s mind imperatively requires reinforcing adaptative intelligence, which mostly originates in the prefrontal cortex.

In practice:

  • Make your colleagues and collaborators think: give them food for thought, data, examples. Then, ask them open and targeted questions: “Who has an idea? What are your experiences in…? How do you see things? What do you suggest to improve John’s idea? Let’s make two columns: what are the advantages, and the disadvantages? Which alternatives can we compare?”
  • Stimulate their Growth Mindset: Fundamentally, if we take a step back, most of the important things we have learned in our lives and the ones that made us grow came from a moment of crisis, that we took up as a challenge, a difficulty that we considered as an opportunity, a problem that we turned into a solution. It’s the same idea here: accept that your coworkers express their worries and frustrations, but then, ask them what opportunity is hiding behind the threat. What can we learn from this episode? What does it let us develop?

For example, I currently hear from a lot of clients that they are proud to have taken the opportunity to use the time freed up by the lockdown to train sales representatives through e-learning, or to have quickly put into place efficient solutions for remote collaboration.  It gives them ideas for the next steps. In the same situation, keeping one’s attention on the disadvantages of the lockdown or on the opportunities to develop remote collaboration, or on solidarity, or on new solutions, is a choice. Help your team choose the option of opportunities.

  • Boost “out of the box” creativity: crisis situations call for crisis solutions! The situation we are experiencing cannot be resolved by minimalist solutions or incremental progression. We need real breakthroughs. The goal is not reducing the waiting time for the results of the Covid-19 test from 2 days to 1.5 day, but to create a test that can reveal the result in 1 hour, as it is being developed by a French company. We should not be establishing a new system for remote collaboration in 3 months, but in 10 days. This has a name: Breakthrough Strategy, and I’ve always been fascinated by it. I remember having piloted the move of a bank from one place to another at the same time as we transferred the entirety of its computer system on new platforms; when I asked my team to prepare a deployment strategy, they suggested we shut down the bank for 9 days! But when I informed them that we would only be closing from Friday 5 p.m. to Monday 8 a.m. to continue serving our customers, they magically found unusual and original solutions to do it over the weekend; on Sunday evening we were exhausted but proud of our creativity, gathered around a crate of beer to celebrate our success.

Crises are moments where we stop perfecting the candle and we invent the lightbulb instead.

Ask for your team members to come up with radically “out of the box”, new and bold solutions. Welcome them with interest and encouragement. One of them will make the difference.


We will all, sooner or later, easily or with difficulty, individually and collectively, adapt to this pandemic.

And we will learn a lot from it.

These lessons will change our lives.

It will depend on our choices.

Influencing the Vision of your collaborators, means guiding these choices.

What about you? After reading this article, what actions are you going to undertake to influence the Vision of your collaborators?

NeuroLead is bringing this drop in the ocean to help you through it.

Next article: Motivation


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