Thanks to the pandemic, the past 7 weeks have brought dramatic changes to the workplace including a swift transition to working from home, different collaboration techniques, reliance on various technologies, and forced adaptation to the “new normal.” As states begin to ease restrictions and phase in different types of businesses, we’re looking at another shift to the “next normal.”
The way we work has changed. The way we collaborate has changed. The way we conduct business has changed. These changes are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. All of this means that in order to be effective, we must change the way we lead.
The most important leadership traits now are; empathy, flexibility, transparency, connection, and creating certainty. Here are techniques to upskill in each of these areas:
- None of us can operate at our highest and best when dealing with sustained high levels of anxiety, stress, or fear so remember that you are human and so are the people you work with. Operate with patience and with grace. Be realistic with expectations and performance.
- Understand where your team members are. Create a safe space in your conversations to check on well-being and address tough questions.
- Remember that everyone is experiencing the workplace impacts of the pandemic differently. Adjust your approach accordingly to meet team members where they’re at.
- Listen without judgment and without the intention to fix or problem-solve.
- The ability to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances reduces stress, helps with decision making, and keeps you and your team moving forward.
- Remember-systems will fail. Old processes won’t necessarily work. That’s ok. We are all learners right now. Embrace the opportunity to learn new lessons and try new things.
- The show must go on. If your organization is operational, then you must continue to look forward to best serve your customers, regardless of what changes have been made to the strategy, operations, or the workforce.
- Be on the lookout for new leaders and new opportunities to emerge.
Transparency & Communication:
- Provide consistency and structure when communicating. Updates should be sent on the same platform at the same day or time. It should be clear how to communicate on different platforms.
- Provide realistic reassurances. Don’t paint an unrealistically rosy picture.
- Be transparent. Share as much information as possible including changes in sales strategies, strategic focus, changes to the workforce, etc. Encourage discussion. Prepare for tough questions like “Why do I have to come back to the office?” “How will you keep me safe?” and “Will I still have a job next month?”
- With 1 in 5 Americans is feeling lonely or socially isolated, connection is vital. And not just for collaboration and the ability to get work done, but also for our well-being. While some will head back to work in the coming weeks, others will stay working from home for the foreseeable future. Either way, you’ll need to continue to prioritize connection.
- Get to know the factors that drive each member’s productivity and work style. Motivating factors may be different now than they were 7 weeks ago. Doing this allows you to coach and support team members accordingly.
- Connection isn’t as organic as it once was. Be intentional about creating opportunities to connect online or create new routines in the office that bring people together.
- As leaders, it’s important to create an environment where team members feel comfortable and confident. Leaders can maximize feelings for certainty through by providing consistency and structure.
- Continuous, ongoing transparency about company goals and priorities
- Create a 30, 60, and 90 plan including objectives, key results, and goals for the team.
- Create new rituals and routines that make sense for your current context.
For other ideas for leading effectively during the pandemic, contact Pathfinder Strategies at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-529-0240. We’d also love to hear your suggestions for leaders now.