Reflections on a year in lockdown

The Management Today editorial team on leadership highs and lows, noise cancelling headphones and the importance of casual conversations.

by MT Staff

In a year of lockdown we've seen the best and worst of management - Stephen Jones 

Few of us ever experienced anything like this before. Running a business through a global pandemic, the record-breaking downturn, the unprecedented business interruption of lockdown, the uncertainty, anxiety, social distancing, Zoom calls, home schooling - it has truly been management on steroids. 

Watching from the sidelines I’ve observed as it’s brought out the worst in UK leaders up to the highest echelons of public office. From the double standards of airline bosses insisting on job cuts to save a struggling business while being perfectly happy to sign off last year’s executive bonuses, to accountancy chiefs urging staff to stop moaning about the unrelenting mental health pressures of home working through lockdown, Management Today has also heard stories of staff forced to come into the office despite workplace Covid outbreaks and written about government ministers seemingly unwilling to accept responsibility for their mistakes. 

But for every horror story there have been just as many positive accounts, highlighting what truly great management looks like. Leaders with the common sense to realise that deadlines or hours may need to bend while parents juggled work with home schooling; organisations that have invested money and time to ensure that their workers feel supported; managers who have communicated with clarity, consistency and humility even if they didn’t always have positive updates to share. 

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