In this unprecedented and uncertain time, many leaders and managers are wondering what they can do to help the people in their charge. Regardless of your situation, I love these three simple and practical recommendations shared by one of my favorite people and fellow corporate consultant, Patrick Lencioni of The Table Group that you can use.
Be human. Be persistent. Be creative.
First, be exceedingly human. By that, I mean that you should demonstrate your concern for the very real fears and anxieties that your people are experiencing, not only professionally and economically, but socially and personally. Even though you don’t have definitive answers to all of their questions, don’t let that keep you from listening to them and empathizing with their fears. And, contrary to conventional wisdom, you should not be hesitant to share your own concerns with your people. They want to know that they can relate to you and that they are not alone in their concerns.
Second, be persistent. This is not a time to hold back. Send people updates and regular communication, even if there is not a lot of new information and the message is largely personal. No one will look back at this time and say, “my manager was so annoying with all the encouraging e-mails checking in on me.” When people are isolated, over-communication is more important than ever.
Finally, be creative. Try new things. Call semi-regular video-conference meetings that allow employees to not only talk about work but to share their experiences dealing with this situation. You can have them share movies and games and other tools that they are finding to be helpful with their families and invite them to tell stories about what is going on in their worlds. Crises provide an opportunity for people to come to know one another and establish bonds that will endure long after the crisis is over.
What you should avoid is seeming cold or impersonal in the name of “business as usual,” or being absent or inconsistent in the name of “giving people space,” or being afraid to try something new. These unprecedented times call for you to stretch beyond your normal comfort zones and be even more vulnerable than usual. Six months from now, you’ll look back and be glad you did.
Keep these three keys in mind as you deal with this latest wave of change. By providing the support people need to adapt successfully, your organization can navigate this change.
Remember, you’re not alone. Make sure you reach out to others. If I can help, let me know. Together we will successfully navigate this change.
• Keshelle is a multi-award-winning corporate business trainer and the chief executive officer of the Training Authority. She is the former executive director of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Institute and an internationally recognized speaker and author. A leading expert in corporate training, technology performance and entrepreneurship, she has helped thousands of people fulfill their vision, obtain mastery and become more productive in their lives.