…to take care of your employees, and it just got harder. Running a business on any normal day can be challenging; running a business in the middle of a pandemic is new territory for almost all of us. We’re in a recession, doors are having to close to the public, and most of us are unable to even meet in person as a team.
So, what do you do?
First and foremost, you cannot leave team members isolated. While we can’t meet in person, we are surrounded by technology that makes it fairly easy to stay connected. As a leader, it is your responsibility to be familiar enough with technology to keep communication open and flowing. If you’re new to video meetings or need help, there are thousands of articles and videos available to help you. You don’t have to figure it out alone, but you do have to figure it out! As you communicate more frequently and openly, your team will be more focused and will be less likely to allow issues or distractions to prevent progress.
In our company, we’re meeting virtually as an entire team once per week with cameras on so that we can see each other’s faces. We’re also continuing our pre-COVID meeting schedule. If our marketing department met together once per week before social distancing, they are meeting at least that often via video now.
A critical part of leading through this crisis is being aware that your team wants the truth of what the future looks like. It’s always better to give them straight talk about their chances of continued employment rather than surprise them if you’re forced to furlough or lay them off. If you are having to consider the possibility of having to send employees home during this time, being honest with them will allow them some time to prepare.
If you aren’t currently facing the difficult decision to send employees home, your team wants to know. They want to hear, “We’re going to kick COVID-19 in the teeth,” and see substantive action leading them to do so. It’s important to note that motion is not the same as action. As James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits, “When you’re in motion, you’re planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don’t produce a result. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome.” For instance, if I make a list of clients to call and check in on, that’s motion. If I actually pick up the phone and call a client, that’s action. While motion can sometimes be helpful, if you get stuck in motion at a time like this, it could kill your business. Be sure you’re leading your team in action and help them to understand the difference.
Lastly, distance requires doubling your leadership efforts. Your guidance and leadership is more crucial now than ever to your team. Get in the habit of constantly sharing any good news that comes your way (sales victories, positive team stories, ways your team is adapting and overcoming, etc.). You also must take care of yourself. You can’t pioneer your business if you aren’t staying safe and healthy. Remember to take time to turn off the news, rest, and process your emotions. You are carrying a lot of weight during this difficult time, but you weren’t designed to carry it alone.
Keep fighting for your business. We’ll get through this together.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.