I wonder how many leaders, managers, team leaders are struggling with this sudden change of events?
All of the usual structures are gone, the usual ways of interacting with people face to face, the coffee machine chat and the office banter. The ability to walk around the office, overhear conversations, read body language, see smiles or frowns.
Instead you are at home, perhaps with family members around you, worrying about your health, the health of your team, the usual way of doing business AND whether your mum is deciding to go out on a shopping trip even though we are in lock down.
Here are my tips for leaders of all grades to help you cope with your changing environment:
1) Stay calm – really important right now. Keep yourself calm. It is impossible to have sensible, productive, caring conversations when you are feeling anxious or panicked yourself. Step away from the laptop, take 10 minutes to sit and breathe. Listen to some music, or if you can go outside to a garden, sit still and gather yourself.
2) Make contact – you’ll need to engage with your team more than ever before. Work out a strategy between you and your team as to how you will do this. Maybe you’ll decide to set up a group Zoom call for a 15 minute ‘coffee’ chat before you start work, or maybe you’ll have a WhatsApp group going for the day. Whatever you decide, keep lines of communications open. Message people individually throughout the day as well and keep 121’s in the diary.
3) Communicate messages – at this time, with messages and advice changing all the time, you’ll need to find a way to quickly communicate with your team some of the key messages. The more senior you are the more you’ll be involved in the decision-making process and the crafting of the communications. But whatever your level, you need to make sure that the messages land.
4) Think of your audience - what are they likely to be thinking? Try to answer as many questions up front as possible. If you don’t know the answer yet – say so but tell them that you are considering solutions. If you are a front-line Team Leader, make sure you pass information and questions up the line to your seniors, so they know what people are asking.
5) Ask for help yourself – being a leader is tough at the best of times, with people looking to you for direction and guidance. You cannot know all the answers, and in fact with the rule book being re-written as we speak, even the most experienced business leaders don’t know them either. Ask your boss, ask your peers, ask your team. Ask me – if I can help give support then I will try to help anyone. Just comment below or message me.
What other things are you struggling with as a leader, manager or team leader? How can I help?