Many companies and leaders are finding themselves attempting to navigate completely uncharted territory during the Coronavirus outbreak. Entire organizations are suddenly uprooted and hastily transitioned to remote work. Other companies have even shuttered their doors for the time being. No matter which industry you’re in, you’re undoubtedly feeling the effects of this pandemic. And so are your employees. How you act as management during this trying time will leave a lasting impression on your team members for years to come. Here are the most important things you can do immediately to maintain a stable and successful workforce during an uncertain era.
Regardless of if your team is working remotely, in-office, or you are on the front lines as essential personnel during this pandemic, the most critical leadership trait you can possess right now is availability. Let your employees know the best way to contact you anytime they have questions or concerns or just need someone to talk to. Implement frequent management check-ins with each and every person. Really reach to go beyond day-to-day work updates – find out how people are feeling, what are their most significant concerns or achievements right now?
Understand different perspectives
On that note, you must remember that every single member of your team is experiencing this pandemic differently. Some may all of a sudden find themselves trying to balance kids at home while still accomplishing a challenging workload. Others may have at-risk friends or family members that are always at the front of their mind. Try to put yourself in each employee’s shoes to understand their perspective.
Now, more than ever, you must practice being a flexible leader. We are all in this together, and no one knows what they’re doing. While it may be challenging to all of a sudden have your workforce isolated and unsupervised, a little trust will go a long way. Understand that your employees will be juggling their home-bound family, new work challenges, and a global pandemic. Set clear expectations from the get-go and establish open lines of communication to ensure productivity while allowing a more flexible working situation.
Keep it light
This is perhaps the most important thing you can do during the COVID-19 outbreak. Your employees are dealing with unfathomable situations and emotions. Fear, uncertainty, and anxiety are running rampant. Management should offer levity wherever you can. Hop on a video conference and ask your remote employees to share the best thing that happened to them that day – work-related or not. Share pictures of your new “coworkers” that may be furry or obsessed with watching Paw Patrol. Everyone could use a laugh or two during this challenging time. Your employees will remember how you reacted and how you made them feel when they were at their most vulnerable – so try to make it as positive as possible!