Amid growing precautions taken to keep people safe during the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), organizations are feeling the pain associated with so much uncertainty. The result, as employees struggle to manage this uncertainty personally and professionally, is apparent in unfocused teams, growing stress, a need for adaptability amid rapidly changing plans, and a lack of face-to-face interaction as offices go virtual.
Good leadership is always important at an organization, but this fact is especially true during times of uncertainty as leaders work to balance employee wellbeing and business needs.
There will be many unknowns to tackle in the coming months, but how to lead your team through these unknowns while keeping business focus, employee wellbeing, empathy, and adaptability as top priorities doesn’t have to be one of them. With the right mindset and leadership skills training from Verb, you can ensure your team is prepared and supported both professionally and personally throughout COVID-19.
Adapting in the face of rapid change
Business travel is being canceled, in-person meetings are on hold until further notice, and offices are closing across the country. Your organization’s priorities may be the same, but the ways you’ve always been able to achieve them have likely shifted drastically.
These constant and rapid changes can throw your team for a loop and have a negative impact on morale if you’re not careful. Your organization will need to make a conscious effort to shift its mindset and practice resilience, grit, and adaptability to overcome this change.
Constant change isn’t easy, but by looking at these changes as challenges you can overcome instead of roadblocks, your team can begin to get comfortable with adapting quickly. This will not only serve them throughout the worst months of COVID-19 but will continue to help them exhibit resilience throughout their lives. It’s crucial for leadership to spread this message and keep their team feeling motivated and clear on where they’re going next.
Do this now: Take a pulse check on how your team is feeling. Send out a thoughtful message letting them know that change will be coming and encourage them to tackle it as a challenge to be won together. Encourage and exhibit adaptability and grit.
Recommended Verb collections for adapting to change:
- Developing Resilience
- Choosing Grit
- Activate Adaptability
Managing and connecting remotely
As leaders like Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Nintendo, among others, close offices around the country, the need to refine virtual coworking becomes more timely.
Without face-to-face contact and meetings, teams and leaders need to be extremely intentional and effective with their communication in order to thrive. By putting the right processes and practices in place upfront, leaders can create successful remote working conditions for their team.
Keep in mind that it will take intentional effort to create a culture of belonging among your team without the in-person interaction they’re accustomed to. Find ways to connect and interact virtually. For example, Verb learners can utilize the Verb Teams page to send announcements, stay in touch, and share collections they find helpful as their team navigates many of the same challenges.
Do this now: Think through what your communication process will entail while working remotely. Schedule regular check-ins and decide which platform you will use to create a sense of community while your team is dispersed.
Recommended Verb collections for managing remote teams:
- Listen Skillfully
- Communicate Effectively
- Create Belonging
- Remote Working
Maintaining business focus and alignment
Companies are quickly shifting the way they work. Plans and travel are being canceled, offices are closing, and the uncertainty of the economy is causing hesitation in the market. During uncertainty, it’s important to prop up your organization’s vision and purpose as a guiding light.
When you’re not sure what to do next, ask yourself what would allow you to move towards your company purpose within the boundaries created by the current health precautions. Challenge your team to do the same.
As the way your organization’s work shifts, it will be important to create clear expectations for your team so they know what’s expected of them. It will also be crucial that your team sets clear and honest expectations for what they feel confident about being able to accomplish within the new boundaries they’re experiencing.
Do this now: Remind your team of your company vision and purpose and ask them to make all decisions about priority with this in mind. Get clear on what’s expected of each team member and get them to sign off on their tasks.
Recommended Verb collections for maintaining business focus and alignment:
- A Culture of Accountability
- Clarifying Expectations
- Managing Vision and Purpose
Take care of yourself
Individuals and organizations should always have a focus on personal health and, like many other topics in this article, this focus is especially relevant during times of quickly spreading illness. Lead by example by encouraging exercise, healthy eating, and preventing burnout.
While you’re prioritizing your physical health, remember that mental health is equally important. Pay attention to your stress levels and create habits that can help you manage that stress. You can’t support your team if you’re sick or overwhelmed, so don’t hesitate to make time to take care of yourself first.
Do this now: Set a few habits that you can commit to each week to manage your mental and physical health. Consider scheduling a daily meditation, planning out healthy meals, or committing to 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week.
Recommended Verb collections for taking care of yourself
- Prioritizing Health
- Manage Your Mind
- To Manage Stress, Take Care of Yourself
Take care of others
Remember that those you work with will likely be supporting children, parents, significant others, and friends who become ill. Empathy will be especially important as your employees miss work or are distracted by concern for loved ones.
As a leader in your organization, you will need to support those around you as they deal with the varying levels of concern and panic brought about by COVID-19. Regardless of your personal level of concern, many are fearful of the unknown and may react in different ways. Work to be empathetic and supportive to those around you as they navigate these personal fears and responsibilities. Additionally, seek to provide resources to those who are in caretaking positions whenever possible.
Do this now: Put a note on your computer with the word “empathy.” Assume everyone is doing their best throughout all this change and ask others to do the same. Find resources you can provide to your team to support them as they find themselves in caretaking positions.
Recommended Verb collections for taking care of others:
- Support People
- Three Takes on Empathy
The way your organization chooses to take precautions around Coronavirus may differ from other companies, but the leadership skills needed to support both your people and your business will remain consistent.
Empathy, self-care, communication, and grit are skills that become most important during times of uncertainty and rapid change- but support strong leadership behaviors for a lifetime.
To train your team on these mindsets and skillsets, Verb is here to support you. Your team can gain access to training materials in days with our quick-to-deploy platform. Once launched, your team will have access to Verb’s just-in-time content library to gain guidance on any leadership challenge they may face in the coming months.