Emotional cultures of workplaces affect how much we enjoy our jobs, how stressed we feel and our ability to do our work well and on time.
As a leader, your presence will have a ripple effect throughout your organization that plays a critical role in shaping this culture. Your presence now, during limited interactions while working remotely, is even more important in helping your team to manage their stress and remain focused and positive. Here are four steps to leading with resilience during a challenging time.
Own the narrative
Acknowledge current circumstances with honesty and transparency (including admitting what you don’t know) but balance this with optimism and a vision for the future that encourages others to persevere. Steer conversations in a positive and proactive direction and make sure that policies and expectations are clearly communicated. Being a steadying force in your organization will bolster the confidence of your colleagues and encourage them to trust that you have the skills to effectively navigate difficult situations.
Check In With Your Team Regularly
When we feel supported and motivated by our boss and colleagues, we are happier, more productive, stick around longer and are better able to cope with job stress. Make it a priority to check in with your team regularly and find out how you can support them. For many, priorities have shifted during this time as worries about vulnerable family members or accommodating school and daycare closures take the front seat. Acknowledge what your colleagues are going through with empathy and compassion, then help them to set priorities and focus on key deliverables. Overwhelmed team members will welcome this support.
Keep Feedback Lines Open
The coronavirus pandemic forced organizations to shift how they conduct daily operations at an unprecedented speed. Such change is a trial-and-error process that inevitably has room for improvement. Ask your team what’s working and what’s not and be genuinely open to their feedback. Involve members at all levels of the organization in the problem-solving process, as those most familiar with certain processes may be best suited to come up with creative solutions or see bottlenecks that senior management has missed.
Create Channels For Informal Communication
When you’re in the office, you talk about a lot more than work, but now that business communications have been relegated to email and zoom meetings, those personal interactions can get lost. While not directly related to work, these interactions are incredibly important to building bonds between colleagues that make the organization stronger. Just because you can’t be physically together doesn’t mean this has to be sacrificed. Create channels for informal communication such as a weekly Zoom happy hour or creating a slack channel for “off-topic” conversations.
In the midst of a pandemic that’s left no business untouched, there’s never been a better time to set yourself apart and practice leading with resilience. For 6 more tips on how to lead effectively in times of crisis, check out our post How to Practice Resilience As a Leader.