Leaders are accustomed to guiding their teams through the ongoing shifts and changes of their organizations; however, the past few weeks have challenged many leaders in unprecedented ways when attempting to navigate the tumultuous waters of responding to the impacts of COVID-19.
As mindful leaders, we are fully aware of our team’s emotional well-being and are compelled to respond in a supportive manner. Here are a few considerations for leaders of organizations, whether small or large, to help maintain a sense of connectivity while their workplace has been disrupted:
- Stay Connected. Ensure that there is regular contact with team members to check on their well-being. They may be feeling isolated and disconnected during this time of physical distancing. A phone call, a hangout/video conference session, email or text message will remind your team that you are thinking of them.
- Provide Suggestions for Possible Supports, If Needed. It may become clear while checking in with team members that community supports may be needed. Have a list of work or community-based services and contact numbers to share with team members who want to reach out for help. This will help to ease the anxiety experienced by many during this time of uncertainty.
- Take Time to Meet with Individual Team Members. Connect virtually with team members to discuss their individual goals and challenges, providing them with a dedicated time to have their voice heard and a potential action-plan to be developed.
- Encourage Team Collaboration. Team members may wish to collaborate on a specific project or work-related focus area. Provide team members with the knowledge of how to access and use technology that will allow them to collaborate virtually through a video conferencing platform.
- Provide Updates as Often as Possible. Expectations for businesses, organizations and communities as a whole are rapidly changing as new information about COVID-19 is made available. Ongoing communication with team members provides reassurance and some sense of predictability. Consider doing this through video, so your team can see you and hear the sincerity of the message.
I have often referred to the book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, by Gary Chapman and Paul White (2012), to think of new ways to show my appreciation for the team that I work with. The everyday, small ways of demonstrating your gratitude and appreciation make a huge difference in your team’s feeling of belonging!