The workplace has dramatically changed in just one week.
The coronavirus has transformed many organizations into a virtual workforce.
This change is going to be seamless for some managers. While for others, they are going to have to lead and connect a way that might be uncomfortable. The challenge for many leaders will be how to lead and inspire a virtual team while not micromanaging in this new normal.
Your employees, now more than ever, need you to lead with both your head and heart. They need you to be as transparent as possible, concerned about them personally and professionally, provide as much emotional security as you honestly can, and be a beacon of hope in their lives.
Managers – here is what every employee needs to hear from you right now:
“Hi. How are you and your family?”
Spend a reasonable amount of time building rapport and checking in with what your employees are thinking and feeling. Great leaders ask about and acknowledge the emotions of others. They understand emotions are driving all behavior, and our job is to create a safe space to process those emotions in a healthy way. Share your thoughts and feelings, as well. It will go a long way in helping your team understand they are not alone. The most important thing you can do is validate the feelings of your employees. They need to know they’re not crazy for feeling the way they feel. This action will build trust and loyalty for the long-term.
“Do you have what you need?”
Managers must ensure their employees have the tools, resources, and knowledge to be successful – both personally and professionally. You might not be able to solve their personal challenges, but you can brainstorm possibilities and help them create a plan of action. Professionally, you need to confirm they have access to all the systems and processes they need to get their work done effectively. Find out what roadblocks you need to clear or what partnerships you need to create so the work can keep moving forward.
“How do we best work together right now?”
Every one of your employee’s lives has changed. It is going to take some time to get into a groove of working from home, figuring out childcare, and making preparations for a quarantine that might last awhile. Initiate a conversation around how often you all want to formally meet, what’s the best way to check-in with each other when there are questions, and how you will decide the outcomes expected for each week. Make sure you both feel comfortable with the agreement.
“Just thinking of you.”
Send a quick, personalized text message to your employees letting them know you’re thinking of them. Don’t have an agenda for reaching out. Remember: the greatest gift you can give someone is your presence. It is your responsibility to show up, be present, and make them feel less alone in this world.
“We’re going to get through this together.”
Every employees’ sense of security feels threatened right now. They need as much reassurance as you can provide. Let them know that getting through this might not be easy, and it might require sacrifices on everyone’s part, but we are all in this together.