As the lockdowns are being eased in many countries, companies are slowly reopening their doors. To a different business than usual, though. Each field is definitely affected by some transformations and it’s up to a great leader how the company adapts. Leaders are the ones we all turn to first and they can’t begin helping and leading their employees through a crisis unless they are prepared to react to the changes effectively.
Team & Empathy
How can you help them? You, as a leader, need to be aware of how everyone is doing. The easiest way is to just ask or take a pulse survey of how your employees are adjusting. It’s very important to be empathetic with what they are going through. One employee might be suffering from isolation because they live alone, while another could have anxiety at the thought of being surrounded by people again. You can’t risk losing their trust and loyalty because they didn’t feel supported or heard in this period. Your team has to get used to being together again during the re-entry phase and this will take time. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
During times of uncertainty, we all crave clarity. The frustration you may see in your employees is not because of you, it’s because of the situation. Communicate clearly when you will be reopening, even if it’s not anytime soon.
Make sure everyone understands what the change curve involves, so they can absorb it. It doesn’t mean that you have to provide all the answers (spoiler alert: you don’t have them), nevertheless, you should share openly what you know. To set the right example, keep it calm, do not urge when unnecessary, be intentional about the tone you set. Nobody wants to be saved by the panicking firefighter, or follow a hysterical leader.
What to do if you are ready to reopen but your employees aren’t?
First of all, dive in deeper to understand the true reasons of their anxiety. If it is based on the fear of getting contaminated, you have to communicate clearly what measures you are taking to keep the workplace safe. Take into account the safety measure laws. For some individuals it might be difficult to come back to an environment with more people. Give them time, space, and flexibility in the beginning by letting them stay at home a few days a week. Most importantly, let them know that you care and you are really there for them.
Unprecedented times call for extraordinary leaders. Covid-19 has challenged every crisis strategy and lightened up leaders who showed empathy and compassion to their employees, customers, and communities.
Dear women, we have an advantage in these fields, so let’s keep calm, and lead on!