There was very little that could have prepared us for the public health crisis the world is experiencing today. Many workers who never experienced working from home were suddenly thrust into the situation. Business leaders today have the unenviable job of managing a team of remote workers while also leading their company through a time of crisis. What do good leaders do in crisis situations? How can you reassure your team and build positivity and encouragement while we’re all in this together? Here are some leadership tips to get you started.
As much as we want to believe it, this is not business as usual for a lot of people. Families are now all home, which often includes two working parents and children home from school. These are unprecedented times. That’s why it falls on you, as a leader in your organization, to be transparent.
The only thing you can control right now is the flow of information from the company to your employees. Transparency will help everyone feel more comfortable with the situation or at least help them manage their expectations.
Focus on the Mission
Throughout this crisis, continue to focus on what’s most important. Your company’s mission hasn’t changed, even if the mode of work has. Stay true to that mission and also update it in light of sheltering in place so your team can still see the value of the work they’re doing.
Your mission should continue to be the driving force of your communications with your employees. These situations are exactly what corporate culture was designed to do. Your core values aren’t limited to the office you work in; they extend to the entire work experience.
While it can be tempting, and comfortable, to fade into the background when transitioning to work from home during this crisis, simply don’t do it. You need to remain visible, so your team knows that they haven’t been thrown to the wolves.
Being visible doesn’t have to mean micromanagement or working until you’re burned out. But it does mean that you need to be accessible and available for your team when they need to reach out.
Facilitate Employee Resources
If it’s in your power to provide a tool that will help your team work more productively during this time, you need to deliver it. That means having the company spring for the pro version of Zoom, providing a slack channel, and giving people a more flexible schedule.
You must understand the situation is very different for each employee, but don’t expect people to put in more work hours just because they’re working from home. Now is the time to transition to a results-oriented workplace. Don’t focus so much on how the work gets done. Shift your focus to quality work within the expected timeline.
Provide Support for Struggling Employees
Stress and anxiety are high for workers across North America. Know that families have been thrust into situations they didn’t expect. Now, there may be two partners working from a home not designed to have a home office. Children are home, and their school work needs to be managed outside the classroom. People are isolated from loved ones, including those most vulnerable. Or they may have loved ones who are essential workers on the front lines. This situation is unprecedented in our lifetimes.
While you can’t be the sole support for your team’s mental health, you can provide them access to outside resources. Encourage and provide resources for your team to access what they need today to support their mental and emotional health.
Do you need additional support to lead your team in this crisis?
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