Most of the companies stepped into 2020 with high expectations in hopes of gaining market shares and driving revenues by strengthening customer base. But, the sudden outbreak of Covid-19 made things worse for all. At first, it seemed that the impact would be local and manageable, restricted to China, but soon the proportions became global, creating panic all over the world. And, most importantly, it has created a difficult situation for the business leaders when the stakes are high, and there is certainly no guide on what to do and how to do.
Besides, leadership figures are often expected to support the team and provide them with the reassurance, resources, and encouragement during tough times. But, how to do so during this hectic and uncertain period? Although there is no such defined path available for the managers/leaders to walk right now, certainly with these strategies, the leader can keep the team engaged during this turmoil.
Take good care of yourself - It is essential that you put on your own "oxygen mask" first. In other words, if you are going to guide a team during the time of stress, fear and uncertainty, it is essential for you to detoxify negativity around you. When things are not under your control, it’s easy to let go of your self-care and stress management practices. However, being a leader, it’s important for you to keep a cool head to collect your thoughts and assess the situation with a clear mind.
Schedule regular meetings to take stock with your team - Choose a time when the majority of your team members are available and add a meeting to your daily workflow. If the meeting time is limited, allow a few extra minutes to hear from your members. It will encourage them to voice their concerns. Also, ask them what you can do to help them better. If someone is new to your team, they may not be comfortable speaking in front of the whole group. Give them a chance to express themselves at other times. Listen to them with patience and show compassion. It’s not necessary to have all the answers. But, do your best to support them and assure them that together you will weather the storm.
Think long term, but plan short term –You always want to think about the future and the final destination of your organization, that's normal. But, during a crisis, it is just not practical to make solid plans, when the situation is constantly changing. And, as far as the long-term goals are considered, keep them in perspective. But, implement achievable short-term plans to keep the team together. Further, remember, to set your short-term plans for a period ranging from a few days to a few weeks, because we are in confinement time.
Communicate constantly - In times of crisis, you have a lot to manage, a lot of change happens suddenly, which drastically changes your previous programs. You can't communicate too much, as you have your priorities, which is true. But, when things are stressful and uncertain, people tend to take on the worst-case scenarios in their minds: "the business is going to collapse, I am going to lose my job, my career is ruined, etc." And while you can't guarantee anything right now, what you can do is communicate what you know and how you really feel about them. The more openly you communicate, the less likely you will be able to keep their minds off the rumors mill.
Our world is not experiencing its first crisis in 2020, nor will it be the last. Therefore, being a leader, it’syour responsibility to learn from this global crisis and do things differently in the future. And, don’t forget to prioritize your mental health amidst the crisis. Simply, try your best and learn as you go.