Leadership Lockdown Lessons

7 leadership lessons from 2020


The past year has taught me that I can actually be flexible and go with the flow and I have no doubt that I will be a better business leader as a result. By nature, I am a big planner and my style is very much to have everything organised well in advance. This year, of course, all of my best-made plans have had to change, often at the last minute. Some ideas we have just had to put on hold, while others we have managed to adjust so they could still go ahead.

I love being in control, so have found this particularly challenging. Yet, our business has survived the unimaginable disruption of 2020 and has still managed to grow. June and July have been our busiest ever months for franchisee recruitment. And on top of this, I also managed to see my friends and family and even get a holiday – all of which I probably enjoyed and savoured far more because of the uncertain path to getting there.

 Vicky Matthews, co-founder, Pink Spaghetti 


This year has shown me that I work too hard and too long, most of the time. I’ve had a tendency to burn the candle at both ends but with the lockdowns that we’ve had, the extra quiet time and the relaxation of many deadlines has meant that I have had the time and energy to think properly and get more on top of research and strategy than before.

It has taught me that I need to take more time out and that doing so does not harm my business or slow things down. In fact, it is genuinely helpful to my work – if I’m honest, I’ve known for years that I should do this but this year has just forced me to experience its benefits. In future I will aim to make sure I get out into the park and have whole days off, even in the middle of busy periods.

  Jasmine Birtles, founder and director, MoneyMagpie 


Every business has been impacted by the pandemic: some businesses have sadly disappeared, some new businesses have been born, and some have pivoted. This year has taught me how quickly we can adapt to change, and how, regardless of what is thrown at us, we can keep going and thrive. My belief is the biggest constraints breed the best creativity. The coronavirus pandemic confined us to our boxes but helped us think outside the box. We all fear change but I no longer fear it as much as I did. Change means opportunity to exercise our creative muscle, to find opportunities that were previously hidden, like the farmer who started successfully renting out his goats as special guests on video calls, funny and brilliant. Sometimes change happens slowly and sometimes quickly, however it happens, we should not fear it, we will take it in our stride and adapt. Bring it on.

  Dan Gable, founder and CEO, ShoutOut 

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