How Leaders Can Ensure High-Performance in Uncertain Times

July 2020 | By Danielle Hochstein, Ph.D.

Much has been written about life during COVID, including the endless Zoom conferences, challenges with work/life balance and homeschooling, and the unusual work-from-home situation that forced family members to spend more time than usual together. On the work front, people describe how working from home has muddied the waters on roles and responsibilities. Communication and decision-making have become much more complicated.


A client recently asked: How do I lead my team effectively when we’re never in the same space, and many things can’t be done the way we used to do them? How do I consider each team member’s personal challenges, while still creating an environment for high performance? What does high performance even mean right now?

High-Performance Teams Require Q4 LeadershipSM

In a previous post Creating and Leading High-Performing Teams, we talked about how effective leaders of high-performing teams are able to:

  • ENGAGE team members and create a work environment of collaboration
  • Drive business RESULTS, not just short-term, but also using medium-to-long-term strategies

As that post said, leaders who find the right balance of engagement and results-focus at any given time are called Q4 leaders. A Q4 leader uses the right behaviors to get the right results. Being a Q4 leader is not a fixed state. Q4 leaders are flexible and adapt their behaviors and management skills to deal with the fusion of unique cultures attributed to new ways of working. For that reason, leaders should check their own Q4 alignment often, consciously evaluating both engagement and results. 

In a time when external events are powerfully influencing what we do and how, and no clear picture exists for when we may regain better control over our situation—what can leaders do to ensure desired performance levels?

Create a High-Performance Environment

A high-performance environment helps your team to succeed. Check in with team members repeatedly, using the questions below. They will help identify environmental factors you can address to ensure a high-performance workplace, whether in the office or working remotely.

Ask yourself, "Am I..." 

  1. ...communicating with my team often enough? Am I using the right balance of business and engagement focus? (knowing when not to talk about business, versus a heavy focus on business performance)

  2. ...communicating a sense of purpose that makes work objectives meaningful and inspiring?

  3. ...regularly checking in with my team about removing obstacles so we can achieve our goals?  

  4. ...ensuring that my team has helpful metrics that are consistent with what needs to be done to ensure we are high-performing?

  5. ...demonstrating unwavering commitment to do whatever must be done to deliver superior long-term results?

  6. ...ensuring my team members have the opportunity to do their very best every day, despite the many external challenges we are facing?

  7. ...generously celebrating and recognizing others when success occurs, rather than taking personal credit?

  8. ...holding myself accountable for achieving a positive work environment?

  9. ...asking people how they are doing?

  10. ...demonstrating commitment to developing my team members during these turbulent times?

  11. ...helping the team understand how what we are doing adds value to our business?

Acting as a Q4 leader in uncertain times entails ongoing focus on engagement and results. It also means you may find yourself identifying and removing more barriers than usual. The positive reinforcement to yourself as a leader is that your behavior results in better engagement with your employees. Be patient as your team members try to rebalance. And keep checking the extent to which you are behaving as a Q4 leader, using the questions above.

Also see, Post-Pandemic Reentry: Leadership Blind Spots to Consider

Q4 LeadershipSM is a servicemark of CLG (dba ALULA).


Topics: Leadership, Leading Remote Teams, Managing Remotely