How resilient are your staff?
By Jonathan Kayemba
The coronavirus crisis has created extraordinary challenges for leaders all over the world. When we think of leadership, we imagine an employer, political figure but often ignore the fact that we all possess some degree of leadership. Leadership is responsibility and accountability; it starts from our homes and stretches into our workplaces.
The most vital traits every leader must exhibit during these grim times is being decisive in their actions and honest in their communication. These unprecedented times continuously create moments of uncertainty and tremendous ambiguity leaving leaders anxious and fearful of making wrong decisions YET, moments like these require leaders to act with urgency and openness being cognizant of the fact that mistakes are unavoidable.
With extreme pressure on the physical and mental health, every leader must tap into their own emotional intelligence to ensure that their teams thrive. While it's not yet clear the extent to which COVID-19 will take its toll on our collective epidemiological, social, and economic health, it’s becoming very clear that businesses must prepare for any emerging down-side scenarios.
- Care and Empower Your Teams: - It is important for leaders to understand the conditions under which their teams are operating and addressing the prevailing challenges head-on. As a leader, you must reach out to every member of your team and support them in every way possible. According to the Edelman research, 92% of employees globally agree that it's critically important for the CEO to respond to challenging times and crises. It’s therefore, a leaders responsibility to help their people manage their own fears and panic. Encourage empathy, free sharing and self-care.
- Educate Your Team: - Avoid getting sucked into the panic that characterizes TV news and social media. Keep tabs on the Daily Situation Report from the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization (WHO), The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Continuously invest in acquiring pragmatic advice on how to protect your staff, clients and their families. Don’t get lazy or tired of practicing safety precautions, create incentives for your team to always follow the Standard Operating Procedures – SOPs both at work and home.
- Be Charismatic: - COVID-19 has our brains pinging on “future threats,” which continuously heightens global anxiety and fear. Always keep calm and ensure your teams are emotionally balanced. Be very realistic about the issues at hand and model realistic optimism while planning for the best possible outcomes. It’s critical for leaders to openly discuss the reality while showing their teams ways they shall overcome existing hurdles. Have a clear roadmap of how to cope, overcome and thrive under such challenging times.
- Be Flexible: - For anyone managing people, the current business environment requires leaders to be very adaptive, DON’T BE RIGID. As a leader, you must keep your team focused, agile, and able to perform through fast-changing and adverse situations. Keeping your workforce resilient in this climate means making informed adjustments based on the information availed. Design policies that allow your teams to work smartly with minimal risk. Identify the best tools to help your teams stay flexible, engaged, and connected. Create a work environment that limits the amount of energy spent on speculation.
There’s no “playbook” for leaders when it comes to tackling this 21st Century pandemic. No one has a silver bullet to dealing with this new reality. The threats of COVID-19 affect us on multiple fronts i.e. personal, family, staff, customers, suppliers and business partners, governmental and financial systems, and potentially even our social fabric. For more information on how to build resilient teams and businesses, contact Jonathan Kayemba. Stay Safe, Keep the Optimism, Together We Shall Thrive.