Continuing my series on leading during COVID, I want to share an observation about leaders and their teams. When I ask about organizations and employees, I often hear leaders saying, “They are all keeping busy.”
Then I pursue this, “What they are doing?” Their answers are often, “I don’t know,” or “They are doing what they have always done.” Allow me to speak to both.
What are your team working on?
If you, as the leader, do not know what your team is doing, then I would want to talk about what is going on – with you. Several things may emerge.
• Consider your state. Things are not as they were, and you are in an altered state as a leader. Considering your concerns, how are you doing personally?
• It may reveal that you have not been overseeing your team well before this time of crisis.
The people you manage are a direct reflection on you.
Every member of your team is inwardly looking at their role in the organization and wondering if they might survive any layoffs necessary. So, of course, they want to be needed. You have probably noticed most of your team with their heads down and busy. The question that needs asking is if they are working on the right things. Without intentional supervision at this time, many just keep doing what has always been or gravitate to those things they really like doing and are good at. The problem is that things are not as they once were, and what we did before makes no sense in the immediate situation.
So what can we do?
This pandemic is going to change how you and your organization function both now and into the future. It is the time to double down on team meetings. Communication is so important to keep your people involved. There are few businesses or organizations that will escape not losing team members.
So, here are somethings we as leaders can do:
• Don’t hide from your people. Show them you are still the leader and that you are working hard to figure out the next steps.
• Help your team understand what leadership is working through now and keep them updated.
• Treat your people with respect. No one has done anything wrong here. The reality is our economy is experiencing devastation caused by the pandemic.
• Remember that it is not just about making the right decision, but it is how you communicate it.
• Show empathy. Your decisions affect the lives of individuals and families. As a Christian, I pray for team members privately. Sometimes, with permission, I even pray with them.
These are such challenging days for leaders. Suddenly we are not leading. In fact we are being led by circumstances and they seem to change every three hours. We get exhausted because even simple things seem so difficult. Please take care of yourself. Reach out for help if you need it. These are not times to be all tough and proud. Put some boundaries around your days and find a few life-giving things you can still participate in and enjoy. We need you as the leader for such a time as this.
Keep your heart up,