Leading your team through difficult times
Posted on July 12, 2020
Like a ship’s captain, your role as a leader is to navigate the hurdles being presented and enable your team to feel safe and able to follow you. As we continue to experience the effects of COVID-19, waves of emotions and the fall-out of them will continue to show-up in the ways people engage with one another at work.
Here are some ways you could consider to lead your team through these times.
1. Have a map. How do you have a map when you don’t know what’s going to happen? Pick a percentage of normal productivity you think your team can operate at and from there plan the work that needs to be done. Be sure to prioritise and have milestones along the way. Keep referring to it, perhaps even create a picture to show the path you have been on and where you are headed.
2. Listen, listen, listen and when you think you’ve heard, listen some more. When things are stressful people can become more reactive. One or more of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse may be present – defensiveness, criticism, stonewalling or contempt. Listening to what the person is saying is important to understand what might be actually going on for them. If any of the four horsemen are present try one of the antidotes recommended by Gottman https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-the-antidotes/
3. Smell the roses. As you have allowed for a change in productivity be sure to schedule in regular time to check-in with your team – as a group and individually. Perhaps you could spend 30-minutes a week as a team playing an online game together. Or even play a board game remotely like Scattergories. Make it fun! Help your team to switch off from the pressure for that small amount of time. Techrepublic have a great resource for this: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/6-best-zoom-games-for-some-virtual-face-time-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/
4. Team training. Virtual work has increased overnight and it can take a bit of adjusting. Take some time to train your team on online and video ways of working. Gestures, the way you sit, the angle your computer screen is on, clothing choices and lighting are all considerations. Try to make it fun. See how they go.
5. Talk it over. Talking difficulties over can really help. Perhaps one of your team members has come to you with a dilemma and you aren’t sure what to do about it. Maybe there are some dynamics that are hard to unravel. Perhaps a unique business issue is showing up. Having an independent coach can really help to work things through. Someone with an outside perspective and who will listen, listen, listen and listen some more. Then you can spit-ball ideas