Why is professional courage and influence so important during COVID-19?

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is posing a range of unprecedented challenges to people professionals. Decisions which will affect both the livelihoods and working lives of employees are having to be made quickly and often with limited information. The huge impact of the furlough scheme is just one example, with latest information on the scheme often changing day-to-day and organisations needing to respond rapidly 

Amid fast changing and pressurised situations, often the routes and methods taken to delivering desired business outcomes are not based in evidence, evaluated or thoroughly appraised.  

As a result, it is really important for individual professionals to have the professional courage to stand-up and be heard during periods like this is. It is only through challenging, scrutinising and evaluating evidence that we ensure we make decisions and implement initiatives that deliver the most effective outcomes, as well as avoiding more detrimental ones.  

Each people professional is in a position to make a real differenceEnsuring they communicate their own unique perspectives on people practices, in a constructive manner, will go a long way to achieving the best business outcomes. The importance of this is only made clearer amid the decisions being made within organisations as a result of COVID-19 

However, this is easier said than done. Putting this into practice and having professional courage and the ability to influence is a skill like any other. And exercising it during times like this, when there is added pressure on professionals and evidence can be mis-construed and misunderstoodmakes things even harder for professionals.  

To support you in developing and refining the skills that will help you during this current crisis and beyond, the CIPD has developed courses focussed on helping professionals thrive in a changing world of work.  

The new CIPD learning content, exclusive to members, features an in-depth course on improving professional courage and influence. The content, which is freely available and can be accessed whenever and however works best for each individual, provides step-by-step learning for professionals on how they can strengthen their ability to exercise professional courage and influence.  

What does the course include? 

The course takes members through six lessons, each designed to take about 30-45 minutes. These can be accessed anywhere at anytime and can be revisited as many times as users need.  

The lessons feature a range of different types of learning types, ranging from video-based to scenario based, as well as interactive community forums to share learnings and ideas with fellow professionals.  

What will I learn? 

The course identifies the key principles associated with demonstrating professional courage and influence – providing real-world scenarios of what this might look like and how people professionals can put what they learn into practice. 

From the individual lessons you’ll learn how to: 

  • Challenge constructively: you’ll explore the importance of challenging situations when it’s appropriate to do so and get insight on how to intervene in an assertive, but considerate, way.  
  • Communicate with impact: get an outline of each stage of the communication process. Learn to adapt your messaging to target audiences to deliver the best impact. 
  • Develop relationshipslearn how to identify and engage with the relevant stakeholders.  
  • Engage with your audience: explore how to engage with target audiences, and learn skills that will help you to be an influential speaker  
  • Take responsibility for mistakeslearn how to take a positive approach when dealing with mistakes, seeing them as mistakes as opportunities for further learning 

Professional courage – a core behaviour for COVID-19 and beyond 

Coronavirus has and will continue to present a range of challenges to people professionals. The decisions that will need to be made and the outcomes we aim for will depend on the use of core behaviours like professional courage and influence. Ultimately this is how we champion better work and working lives, but more immediately it is how we help to ensure organisations and workforces ride out this crisis.  

Exercising these behaviours is also important for the long-term professional development of people professionals. When we arrive in a post-COVID-19 world, using these behaviours will remain crucial as organisations look to rebuild and recover from this crisis. Professionals will play a key role in this process, and these skills will most definitely come into play 

Access the professional courage and influence course, and the other seven available courses here.  

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