Five Practices to Lead Your Team Through a Crisis
Many professionals are lucky to be able to work from home in this time of crisis. Though some may already telework every now and then, or even most of the time, having an entire workforce do so can be disruptive to even the most productive teams.
“Leaders can play a significant role in abating this [disruptiveness] and help to keep employees engaged during this time of crisis,” Alaina Love says in SmartBrief.
Love recommends five practices to put in place for telecommuters to lessen anxiety and reinforce personal connection.
There is no business as usual during a global pandemic. The leadership team needs to acknowledge what is happening in the news and explain that they are being as responsive as possible to the new facts as they come through official channels.
“This allows employees to know that future work changes are inevitable, but your commitment to keeping them apprised reinforces trust during these difficult times,” Love explains.
Leaders can also use this as an opportunity to engage their team in problem solving, so everyone can buy into the solutions. One way to accomplish this is by creating small work teams.
Create a schedule
Routine can provide comfort in a time of unpredictability, so creating a schedule is key. Make sure the schedule includes a lot of virtual chats with your team as it gives you a chance to check in on everybody’s well-being.
“Now more than ever, having an opportunity for virtual in-person interaction is essential to employee engagement,” Love says.
This can also be a time to see what’s going on in each other’s lives when a child or pet may walk behind the screen. Don’t discourage this as it can build camaraderie and even provide a laugh during a stressful time.
Double down on training
Skill-building during a time of crisis encourages engagement and when done as a team, can be a great relationship-building exercise.
“Crisis experiences often ignite introspection, prompting employees to reflect on what is most important to them personally and professionally,” Love explains. “Offering programs that help employees build a deeper understanding of self and an appreciation for the unique contributions they can make to the team will stimulate the renewed sense of purpose and commitment to the organization that is so vital at this time.”
Leverage mindfulness and meditation practices
Being mindful in the workplace (whether it’s in the office or at home) leads to less stress and increased productivity, so don’t let those practices fall by the wayside in a remote work situation.
Providing thoughtful and empathetic leadership at this time is more important than ever.
"This moment is calling forth the grace in all of us, especially those of us who lead,” Love says. “The more centered we are and the more we help our employees feel anchored and valued, the more grace we will collectively have to extend to others.”