It’s now become obvious that COVID-19 is here to stay. More than 6 months have passed and still, there is no end in sight. It could take a while before a vaccine becomes available. As states begin to reopen, those businesses that survived the tough times must find new ways to cope. There is an urgent need for leaders that will inspire employees to work together under a common spirit of enthusiasm and devotion for the company. People need to be proud of their jobs so that they can do everything in their power to safeguard the business.

In a perfect world, anyone could become a great leader and inspire others. Unfortunately, most decision-makers are influenced by personal bias and selfish interests. Most leaders still use the Kohlberg model of moral development and focus more on hierarchy and sticking to procedures and guidelines. Interestingly, women have a more adaptive and relational leadership style. They are more likely to care about those affected by the decision.

However, relational decisions aren’t used by female leaders alone, some of their male counterparts use it too. This leadership style is more relevant today than at any other time. Unlike ‘traditional’ hierarchical leadership, relational decision-makers don’t use a ‘guideline’ to make rules. They are more spontaneous and act according to what they feel is right. As part of the decision-making process, these leaders will ask all sorts of questions to understand how employees feel.

The main reason why most businesses collapsed during the pandemic is hierarchical decision making. The top management made most of the decisions without considering the low-level workers. Most employees were laid off and those that were left no longer felt motivated to continue working. As a result, productivity reduced and sales slowed down. In the end, those businesses had to close down to shield themselves from further damage.

If those managers had used relational leadership, the outcome could have been better. Now more than ever, businesses need to make their employees feel proud of their work. They need to instill a sense of purpose and esprit de corps for better results.

Moving forward, businesses should consider hiring more female leaders to create a more human-focused work environment. It is now clear that employees matter as much as the company.