Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Today, we all face unknown challenges that intimately affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. We are in a state of uncontrollable change where our best-laid plans in our organizations and in our homes may or may not be successful. Disruption all around!
We must break out of our norm and shift to a flexible, nimble and action-oriented mentality to conquer change. Below are four guiding principles to set personal expectations, remove the noise of leadership stress and engage your employees.
Put your people first. Be proactive to make decisions, communicate and reiterate. Your employees are juggling a lot personally as they protect themselves and their family and keep their pantries full. They need confidence that they are a priority. Organizations that voluntarily change their sick leave programs, increase their flexibility due to kids at home, reduce their daily production requirements and pay their bonuses put their people first.
Cascade decisions quickly and communicate with one source. Leaders making the daily decisions should have a daily huddle to review their crisis playbook. What do you need to start, stop and continue based on what we know this minute? At the conclusion of the huddle, communicate the information to all employees from the same source. No news leads to gossip and stories without facts that spread quickly among your employees. Avoid emails, when possible, to reduce the miscommunication that comes with emotional interpretation.
Create empowerment and ownership for all. Give your employees the power to perform their duties with minimal oversight and own their daily work. Everyone is looking for something to control in these uncontrollable times. Let your employees take the reins and find great fulfillment in their work. Who knows what innovations and discoveries that your organization will experience.
Assess your employees wellbeing regularly. Your employees are scared. Take a few minutes each day to reach out to each employee. Ask two questions - 'how are you today' and 'what can I do to help you today'. Your goal is to connect deeper with your employees. Be more than a work leader; be a life leader. Find ways to help solve their work challenges and problems and listen actively to guide through their personal obstacles.
Leaders strive to put people first in times of change. It can be an unconscious choice to focus more on the business model, the systems and the revenue in a time of crisis. It's not too late to refocus on your people and conquer the change, together.