During these unprecedented times, leaders are expected to be empathetic, listen better, create a safer culture, and support their remote teams to help their organizations thrive. The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded lots of changes in various fields and the role of a leader is no different. Leaders are expected to adapt and evolve to support their workforce and the business at large.
Unfortunately, leaders and managers across the world are failing to address the workforce challenges of today. And it’s hard to blame them because things aren’t normal. If you are a leader, I am sure you can relate.
These challenges aren’t limited to revising your current performance appraisal methods or planning how to hit the sales target of the first quarter. The present issues are deeper and more employee-centric. Looking for some advice on what changes to make in these unusual times to manage remote teams, show empathy, overcome the challenges and help your organization thrive? Hop along!
5 Essential Changes Leaders Must Make During The Time of Crisis to Help Their Organizations Thrive
Collaborate and Maintain Remote Connections
Managing existing and new relationships when your teams are scattered is a challenge. Although you can now arrange a video call with a client or arrange a team meeting to build rapport and stay connected, it’s hard to form trust when a new hire is involved.
When we meet in person, in the first few interactions you get to know the personality and working style of the person. This type of bond and trust is difficult to replicate in a virtual environment. We are humans and we crave connection even at work. This means leaders will have to arrange team bonding exercises or virtual games to form connections regularly.
It’s important to invest time in your team. Once a month or once a quarter, gather everyone in the same location following social distancing protocols set by the government. A baseline must be established to continue working remotely.
Have Open Conversations
Employees continue to complain that their leadership hardly ever communicates effectively. It’s high time this concern is addressed, especially during the pandemic. Those leaders who went the extra mile to share information across their organizations, prepared their team to face the challenges lying ahead, and took a step back to listen to the woes of their employees were the ones who adapted quickly.
Apart from improving the organization’s communication system, there’s a pressing need to have conversations about mental health. Make sure you have the right facilities available to support your people if they have experienced COVID first-hand or through someone close.
Another important conversation to have is about racial unrest. Step forward and evaluate your internal talent and business process to identify and grapple with any racial inequality that exists in the organization. The companies that have addressed these issues are progressing well. Host listening events to hear the experiences of your teammates, address those experiences, and develop a genuine change.
Find and Remove Toxic Managers
The impact of toxic, abusive, and narcissist managers is often neglected. Leaders need to identify these managers and get rid of them.
A manager who isn’t aligned with the values of an organization smothers the growth of his subordinates. Don’t just keep a manager because of his skills and experience. If their presence is toxic for the employees and it’s poisoning the organizational culture, they must be removed. As a leader, it’s your job to make a comfortable, safe, and just environment for your employees to get the work done.
Evaluate Your Behavior as a Leader
Nobody is perfect and a good leader acknowledges that. This is exactly why you must evaluate your behavior and communication as a leader time after time. Look internally and become self-aware.
Listen to your colleagues at all levels by arranging unfiltered interviews. Tap into the power of reverse mentoring and allow people to share their lived experiences. This will take you on an educational journal and might as well act as a catalyst for change.
Get comfortable with seeing your words and actions from the perspective of others. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations by asking questions. Take the feedback graciously. Make this a regular practice.
Do More Than Empathize
Your employees might call you the most empathic leader, but empathy alone isn’t enough. It’s important to connect with people too. Leaders must become active listeners. When you’re brought into a conversation for advice, you must listen to what the person has to say and capture their sentiments.
If you fail to understand your employees, what motivates them, and makes them happy/sad, it’s difficult to move the business forward. Your team’s goal will hardly ever align with the organization’s goals. In fact, you will be out there complaining about a high employee turnover rate.
Amidst the era where change and uncertainty are the norms, leaders must step forward and change things around to bring the workforce together. The future is all about transformation and being adaptive to it.
Focus on the transformation from the inside to unlock a meaningful change. Every small change leaders make might be a precious fortune to help their organizations thrive and become successful businesses, especially during the time of crisis.