Director’s thoughts

A recent poll undertaken by international recruitment agencies revealed that 78% of those asked believe that there will be a change in sought-after leadership skills post-COVID. The poll found that the top leadership qualities included the ability to adapt fast, resilience, a high capacity for EQ, strategic mindedness, the ability to inspire, and being a strong communicator. It is not surprising to see that therefore the top-most in-demand job functions post-COVID are located within technology-related departments, logistics, HR and health and safety.

Post-COVID we expect to see increased challenges for recovery mainly to achieve organizational financial stability, transformation – ie. the ability to adapt organizational structures to whatever the ‘new normal’ will be, talent management and engagement – distance working has shown its challenges and it will need to be addressed properly, as well as building confidence – among staff and teams and also clients and other stakeholders.

Also Henley Germany is faced with changes in teaching – here in one of the first blended learning sessions.

Leadership will thus experience an increased demand on not just managing the road ahead but to actually lead with a well-communicated vision, integrity and authenticity.

How will leaders enable themselves to adapt to such demands? Haven’t we experienced crises in the past that needed to be overcome? Has something changed in the way we are required to lead?

It can be argued that the currently active generation of leaders has not yet had first-hand experience with social distancing and being active almost fully online. Despite the fact, that we are technologically much more advanced today than, say, 5 years ago. We have seen that informal communication has needed to adapt to tackle with formal communication tools (the chat by the watercooler or over a coffee disappeared, in their stead we found ourselves having to make actual appointments for zoom calls, requiring new levels of focus and concentration!).

This is a fundamental change in the way we communicate socially. Online communication, the good ways, the bad and the ugly, was all around us and we engaged with it on a regular basis through the internet and social media. However the need to utilize such communication channels as a main route to get a message across has certainly challenged most of us. New levels of self-discipline and self-management are required to create enough space to think, to work and to recover in appropriate and needed doses. Tolerance towards those that struggle with this new way of engagement, those that saw their jobs disappear, through furloughing schemes or otherwise, the ones that simply were challenged by this sudden transition, is needed and will remain one of the highest valued characteristics of leadership in the future.

My own personal tips to lead past the upcoming bumps in the road:

  • Write down for yourself your immediate priorities, professionally and privately
  • Create a vision – where is it that you want to lead your organization towards?
  • Be realistic – what is it that you absolutely have to do in order to save your organization, without compromising on your values?
  • Build a plan – and stick to it! Of course, if your plan steers you towards a wall you will need to adapt but maintain course with integrity and self-belief
  • Have a timeline – for how long will you be performing in ‘exceptional mode’? You cannot do it forever, so account for your resources figure out by when you want to have a ‘normalised’ situation again
  • Give yourself (and others) some slack – we all are trying our best, mistakes are bound to happen. If you make one, don’t sit on it but pick yourself up and make it better next time
  • Last, but not least, breathe and focus. It requires discipline to work through uncertain times. This can be exhausting, so build in conscious moments during the day, where you make time to reflect, on yourself, on your team, on your organization, on what is important to you
The Henley team also took a break and let the director show them the city of Hamburg – in compliance with the social distancing rules!

At Henley Business School we have carried out a considerable body of research over the past years and some of it you might find inspiring:

  • Heads together and row
  • The Leading Edge podcast series

Simply go to and you will find resources to read and give you ideas.

Also, please remember, you are not alone. As alumni you have the possibility to book – free of charge – coaching sessions to discuss what is keeping you up at night and find someone to talk to. Of course, and our alumni know this, all Henley programmes come with what we consider our DNA: a solid foundation of personal development. Be it as part of the MBA, or the coaching programmes, or even the DBA, Henley always includes a personal development component that helps make you the leader you want to be (and maybe also need to be) with integrity and authenticity. Our team is there to support and help our community, so please do get in touch anytime.

We hope that reading this week’s director’s thoughts was inspiring and – as always – we appreciate feedback and your views. We do look forward to hearing from you.

With this in mind, we wish you a great new week ahead

Chris Raudonat

Director, Henley Business School Germany GmbH

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The University of Reading and Henley Business School in Germany are closely monitoring the situation regarding the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 and we have established a senior group to direct the University’s response.

Our priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our staff, students and visitors and minimise disruption to University activities. We are following all government advice including health advice from Public Health England, the Health Authorities in Germany and travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as well as the German Foreign Ministry.

For all programme participants and customers of Henley Business School Germany, we advise that it remains safe for most people to continue to go to work, school and other public places, as long as you comply with the guidelines provided by state authorities, of which a list of links can be found here below. We only ask you to stay away from public places (self-isolate) if advised to do so by a medical professional or other competent authority.

So far we have not been advised of any wider health implications for programme participants in Germany-based courses. However, if you have been traveling recently to affected areas and suspect that you might have been exposed to the virus, please do notify us early so that we can put in place the necessary measures for alternative access to course materials and lectures as you may need to self-isolate and not be able to participate in face-to-face workshops.

Information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus, including the current situation in Germany and information about the virus and its symptoms is available on the Bavarian Health Ministry info page on the COVID-19 outbreak (in German).

We continue to reassure our customers that for the time being our programmes continue to run as planned. We have equipped our offices with extra hand sanitizers and increased the level of cleaning in the workshop spaces. Should you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. Should the situation change, we will inform all current programme members and customers directly as well as via this website.

We thank all our customers for their support and understanding in these trying times.

Who counts as case of suspicion and what are the current risk areas?

Telephone hotlines & further information

  • Corona hotline of the central Bavarian Health Authority, Bayerisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit (LGL): 09131/ 6808-5101
  • Corona hotline of the City of Munich’s Health Authority (Referat für Gesundheit und Umwelt): 089 233/ 47819 (8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

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