Reflections on the COVID-19 situation
The current pandemic with its necessary security precautions such as “social distancing” is creating changes and the need for adaptation in different areas of life. Companies are changing their business models or their range of products or services, affecting processes and employees. Business Continuity Management is creating new and additional requirements with approaches such as split operations and, where possible, people are working together virtually from their home offices. There are also existential fears, family chaos or being alone in everyday life, which is something that is tangible for many.
While the (social) media is flooded with useful (and not so useful) tips and tricks for dealing with the situation, the question for us is what additional perspectives Hogan offers. In the following, we will try to describe which Hogan dimensions help in these uncertain times and which are possibly even challenged:
Personal contact to different people has become rare. For people in the home office, it now means trading personal conversations or shared lunches for telephone calls and web conferences. A virtual alternative must be found for informal exchanges with colleagues or for lunch with them. Values such as affiliation or security are being shaken up due to the restrictions on contacts and the lack of predictability as to how things will continue. At the same time, we see and read every day how altruism continues to hold our society together despite physical distance.
People high on security may ask themselves: Will my job stay? Can I still pay my rent and other important things? If I have to look after the children or relatives in need of care, will my boss fire me? People for whom affiliation and belonging are important appreciate contact and exchange with others, like to meet people and also like to be on the road.
Helping others and doing something good for society is now becoming visible: from young people who go shopping for their elderly neighbors to nurses and doctors who care for the seriously ill. No services can be provided without being helpful and altruistic. Successful companies serve other people, with what they do, with their very purpose.
Working productively in the home office requires discipline. Structures and routines can help. People with a higher level of the Hogan dimension prudence could benefit, because they can easily plan their work in advance or structure their day. How do I structure my everyday life optimally? How do I balance my work, home schooling, childcare, caring for relatives and my hobbies? What do I need in order to develop suitable everyday structures and routines?
Stable behavior even under pressure helps people to keep a cool head. A medium level of the Hogan Dimension adjustment is the keyword here. These people find it easy not to become action-orientated and hectic, but also not to be indifferent to the pressure situation. They look at the situation, analyze, identify priorities and can thus identify new opportunities for the future. They also remain patient with their fellow human beings, which for example also supports family peace, since everyone is at home and one has to wear several hats – parents, teachers, cook, cleaning staff and child caretakers – at the same time.
Sociability describes the extent to which one person is communicative and accessible to others. A great risk for employees and managers is to become absent in the current situation and appear no longer present and approachable. People with a high degree of sociability find it easier in the current situation to ensure the necessary communication and to show presence from the home office. However, people with a low level of social sociability should see the situation as an opportunity to invest more energy in establishing contacts at this time. Instead of always writing e-mails, one could use the telephone more often and check the well-being of the other person. This can already be a good start to appear more approachable.
The interruptions in our daily routine, the uncertainty about finances, the worry of being infected or losing loved ones, and the isolation lead to unprecedented stress. No one will do their best under these circumstances; the COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect storm for the emergence of our dark sides. Our colleague Dr. Gordon Curphy describes this in his insightful article “COVID-19 and the Dark Side of Personality”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that every role in a company is important and every individual contributes to the success of the company. In his article “Look for the Helpers: Humble Leadership in Times of Crisis” Garrett Shaffer, Hogan Assessment Systems, draws a comparison between the world of basketball and the corporate world. He says, “imagine this current moment like the heat of the game – when leaders look at their helpers, they know who is reliable and agile, and that we need to rely on each other to move forward again. For a deep dive into the topic of “Humble Leadership”, see our joint article “How to grow humility in charismatic leaders”.
COVID-19 has created a context as we have never experienced before. In her article “The ‘Now What’ in a COVID-19 World” Trish Kellett, Hogan Assessment Systems, encourages us to review our Hogan results through a COVID-19 lens to determine what will make us more effective in this crisis. Is your “what now” (the actions you need to take based on your Hogan results) different than before? Trish provides suggestions that are worth considering.
We at RELEVANT have also been seeing each other for over four weeks via Microsoft Teams or Zoom from our home offices in Duisburg, Essen, Düsseldorf, Leverkusen, Cologne and Frankfurt and have found ways to be in good contact with each other in this way. We are now offering our Hogan Certification Workshops virtually, so that freelancers can use the quieter time to prepare for the time afterwards or even open up a new business area.
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