How the Pandemic Caused Me to Change My Leadership Style

As a leader whose goal is to motivate, mentor, and drive teams and businesses to thrive, it’s been my greatest challenge to guide employees during a pandemic. Being empathetic and present, and helping employees grow was of the utmost importance in my approach, and I wanted to make sure I was providing guidance and inspiration throughout this time. Though these are fundamentals of my managing style, over the past year they were executed with much more intention, care, and concern.

For my team (and so many others), working from home has been a tremendous adjustment, particularly for new team members who were hired during the pandemic. They’ve had to onboard and develop business relationships all online, without the opportunity for day-to-day interactions that help one get acclimated and build relationships in an office environment. The simple things were missing: grabbing coffee with a coworker, having a team lunch or an in-person meeting. As someone who was also hired and onboarded during the pandemic, I empathize and relate.

What’s helped me, which bleeds into my leadership style and ability to be a mentor, is focusing on my purpose and longer-term goals. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with Zoom fatigue or missing that in-person interaction, I shift my focus back to why I’m here, and why I joined Amyris. I was brought in to drive momentum and growth, and get clean products to families who want to change their lifestyles and make better choices. This has been the key to my career projection; it keeps me focused on my overall vision as an integral part of the Executive Leadership Team and on the vision I have for myself and my teams. Year after year I notice that one success begets another.

One initiative I implemented last year was a “wins every week” internal culture to inspire continuous improvement and excellence. There’s been so much turbulence outside of work this past year I made it a priority to foster stability. I encourage my employees to find ways to operate in harmony, take a family-first approach, mitigate changes, and maintain stability. I also encourage my employees (and myself!) to set boundaries. Are there going to be exceptions when they’ll have to handle business outside those boundaries? Of course. But that’s the exception and not the rule.

At the end of the day, I want to leave a positive impact on my team and community. I want my employees to trust in me, knowing I’ll always support, uplift, and guide them. We’ve all felt the impact of the past year, and as a leader, I’m proud of the support and encouragement I’ve provided during this time and the collective accomplishments, learning, and insights that have resulted.