I think we would all agree that this is the most uncertain time most of have ever been through. The only thing that comes a very distant second for me was waiting for my babies to arrive, especially the first one but I still knew he had to come out eventually!
As Leaders we don’t have any more answers than anyone else. We don’t know when this is going to end, we don’t know how bad it is going to get for our businesses, we may not even know if we have the actual virus. But as Leaders we are expected to lead and that means creating a sense of certainty and ideally calm for our employees.
Certainty is a big gift we can give to our people right now. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Continue office traditions – whether it be Friday afternoon drinks, a Tuesday team morning tea, or team birthday celebration, think about what you used to do for fun as a team and keep doing that…by video. Make it the same time as you would normally have it and keep the structure (or create the new reality structure). This will help the team keep connected, have some fun and feel a sense of normal.
- Weekly one on ones – if you don’t already have weekly one on ones with your direct reports you should be, and this time is more important than ever. Set the same time each week with every direct report to check in on their lives and their work. Work to an agenda and make sure the meeting is not moved. This may feel like a lot to do but your employees will be incredibly grateful for this time with you each week. (more to come on how to run an effective one to one).
- Team meeting every week – we are currently having 2 video team meetings a day with our team which I know sounds like a lot but there is nothing more important to us than keeping our team connected and supported. Depending on what suits your business set up a team meeting for everyone to get together and be updated on business. As a minimum this should be held at least once per week and again, make it the same time and structure every week and focus on business updates.
- Share good news – our employees are looking to us for hope and whilst we may not have much to offer, we can always find a good news story to tell. Make a point of sending a regular good news message to the team. This could be a motivational quote, funny meme, surviving isolation tips, a positive statistic, or an inspiring story. It doesn’t really matter as long as it is regular and makes them smile.
- Communicate BAU – nothing will provide more certainty than regular communication and a sense of normality so the more you can share about ‘business as usual’ activities the more relaxed your employees will be. Think about what you would normally be talking about with your team and keep doing that…client updates, sales activity, marketing plans etc. They need to see that the wheels are still moving, and if the wheels aren’t moving, they just need to hear what you are doing to get them moving again.
Remember you don’t need to have all the answers but that doesn’t mean you can’t create certainty and stability by implementing routines.
Give your employees something they can rely on each day or week.
Keep healthy and keep connected (safely).
The wattsnext team and I here to support you. Please reach out anytime.
Sel (Sue-Ellen) Watts
Founder wattsnext Group