By Therese Heeg, M.S. ICF
Based on a survey of 200 leaders and several senior leader interviews, here are 5 tips for successful leadership right now.
1. Connection and Appreciation: Increase connection and appreciation through many modes of communication. Acknowledge leaders and staff for being flexible, focused and committed during this time. Harvest stories about what is working and add these to communication planning so there are ongoing positive acknowledgements. Reassure staff that they are being successful under extraordinary circumstances
2. Encourage Outreach for Support: Identify a team to focus on developing a plan to help leaders and staff manage anxiety, work/life balance and mental and physical health. Let people know you care about their mental and physical health. Understand that this type of crisis can trigger previous traumatic experiences and can impact employees. Encourage all leaders to become familiar with how to refer people to EAP.
3. Clarify Expectations: Be clear on expectations regarding productivity as people adjust to working without all of the tools and equipment needed as they manage a household while trying to work. I am hearing people are feeling less successful – both at work and with their families – as they try to manage both. Working at home can create increased anxiety as staff homeschool children and work without a dedicated workspace. Many are working throughout the day and into the evening in order to meet the needs of family and work.
4. Two-Way Communication: Now is the time to increase two-way communication to reduce anxiety and increase engagement and commitment. Hold regular all manager calls and virtual all staff meetings. Record them for people who cannot attend. Assign a person to provide daily updates including an email to gather concerns and questions from staff. Provide a survey link on your intranet to gather additional input and respond in a timely way.
5. Support and Grow Leaders: Hold focus groups and online group coaching sessions for leaders who have shifted to remote operations to identify real-time needs and to provide the support needed. In my calls with clients, even the most experienced leaders are appreciating this opportunity and they are able to provide peer coaching to others in group sessions.
Finally, remember to take care of yourselves, physically, mentally and emotionally and check in with your team on how they are doing the same.
Contact me for the full summary of my survey and calls firstname.lastname@example.org.
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