COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in many of our plans…more than once. In today’s business world, we’re used to a certain level of change. But the current pandemic has made change an even bigger reality—things are literally changing on a daily basis.
How have you responded?
Every single organization is a reflection of its leadership. What your leadership team communicates, models and reinforces will, ultimately, shape your company culture going forward.
Below are a few suggestions to model the way for your teams and shape a healthy future for your organization:
Be informed. Follow the CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers to plan and respond to COVID-19. Also, read about the economic implications of the current pandemic on your business/industry/sector so that you and your team can make the best possible decisions with the information you have available.
Be self-aware. Like boats, people create (emotional) wakes that can be felt by those around us. We can leave others gently bobbing in positivity or gasping for air above waves of negativity and fear. Take your own emotional temperature before having an important conversation or making a significant decision. Be self-aware so that you can take action to not leave others drowning in anxiety and distress.
Be authentically positive. When we recognize that we are emotionally escalated, we can use emotional enablers to get ourselves back to a calm, relaxed state. For some, this could be journaling or venting to a trusted friend. For others, it might be regular exercise, meditation or prayer. You might also find it helpful to focus on the opportunities in your current situation so that you can show up for your team and model optimism and positivity.
Be empathetic. Just as you have likely cycled through a number of emotions over the last several weeks, you can expect the same from your team. Each person’s emotional process will look a bit different. Don’t attempt to talk someone out of their feelings. It will likely backfire. Instead, be a sounding board for your team as they process through their emotions. Listen attentively and help them verbalize their feelings. As they start to make sense of their emotions, they will be in a better place to identify their own emotional enablers in order to show up and contribute.
Be willing to change expectations. Give yourself and your team some grace right now. These are not normal circumstances. We’re all operating with limited information as to when we can expect things to be “back to normal.” Some are juggling much more than usual as they attempt to assist their grade schooler with e-learning and appease their toddler with more juice and another round of Frozen—all while logging onto your virtual team meeting. Others are fearful for their own health or the health of a loved one. Let your team know that, at the end of the day, you care about more than results. You care about them personally—their physical, mental and emotional health.
Be clear and consistent. Continually communicate—through various mediums—what changes are coming in a cohesive, “big picture” way so as not to overwhelm your employees with too many messages from too many messengers. The more proactive, integrated and inclusive your approach can be, the better. Lean into recognition and rewards to reinforce healthy behaviors and contributions.
Be agile. Our current situation requires us to follow the advice of Ross from Friends and “Pivot, pivot, pivot!” According to McKinsey, agile cultures are quick to mobilize, nimble, collaborative and resilient. They allow for a free flow of information and make it easy to get things done. They make quick decisions, empower others to act and learn from failure. How many of these describe your organization today? What attitudes, behaviors, technology, systems or processes need to change in order to develop and reinforce agility in your team?
Looking to develop your leaders?
Contact Elsey Consulting Group to unleash your organization’s potential with the tools, training and confidence needed to solve your toughest business challenges.
We create customized, in-person and virtual leadership programs for executive level, mid-level, foundational first-level and emerging high potential talent. Our practical, business-focused methodology helps leaders gain insight, build motivation, learn and apply new skills on the job and reinforces accountability to sustain momentum.
Our leadership programs cover a number of leadership topics, including Leading Change and Transitions.