The Covid-19 situation continues and looks set to continue for many months more. For leaders, this has been a testing time. It has been unsettling with lots of uncertainty for everyone.
Now is the time to take stock and look to the future and recognise what your business needs.
- Kindness needs to continue to evolve.
We have started seeing more kindness in the workplace and much more emotion shown. This needs harnessing further with employees. Creating a sense of support for each other. Encouraging employee’s to be there for each other where the workload is high. Or where different skill sets are needed or people struggling with personal problems. People often have different scenarios going on in their private life. Managers need to show kindness and compassion.
How you as a leader act and show kindness will flow across the business. Trust is also needed for people to feel they can open up when they have issues.
I can recall an occasion when I was struggling with a customer’s case and how to deal with it. I tried several times to approach my manager. Eventually, because it hadn’t been dealt with it ended up as a complaint case. It taught me a valuable lesson both as a jobholder and later for being a manager. It’s important to build a collaborative team. When situations like this arise, others can then jump in and support when the manager isn’t about.
- Channels for listening.
Managers and Leaders now more than ever need to open channels for listening. This can range from Team’s chat to anonymous stored documents to 1-2-1s. From focus groups to team meetings. But here’s the thing you need to actively listen, show you are absorbing and then say what you are going to do to support.
Rather than keep sending emails, pick the phone up. Or do a quick video call to explore the message and create interaction. Nothing worse than getting a task by email and not being able to discuss it as a jobholder.
And then take the action! Employees want answers so go back with an update, or complete the action as otherwise you will destroy any trust gained.
- Flexibility in the Workplace
Life has changed so much with more working at home than ever before and it is likely to stay this way. Flexibility is key because it helps people work to their needs and flows within their home life. We’re seeing homeschooling, caring demands and coping with interruptions.
Be accommodating and understand there may be occasions when people have to do different working patterns. This creates an environment where people feel supported and go the extra mile. With remote working, support your employees by providing the right IT set-up. Getting this right and providing the equipment shows you care as a leader and the business.
Now is the time to consider efficiencies. Look at how you carry out the work. What needs automating? Consider the priorities for the right work to your employees. Look at how you can move work around more smoothly.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that some employees will prefer working in the workplace. Consider how you can operate a hybrid position.
- Business Continuity Planning is Essential
For many years businesses thought continuity planning was a waste of time. Desktop scenarios were completed. Yet drilling down to make sure fit for purpose often didn’t happen.
We’ve had a year to get continuity planning right in these COVID-19 times.
Yet I still see signs of plans not fully thought out.
As a business some points you need to consider;
- What is the priority work?
- What employees need to be back in the workplace and why?
- What can be carried out remotely or moved when required?
- What different scenarios are possible?
- Are all the processes documented?
- Are there simplified training guides?
- Do you have standard operating procedures and standard work instruction?
- What if you lost all your team members for a period, what are your contingencies?
- Are you able to multi-skill employees so you can move them across to other teams if there is a shortage? But, make sure you are not overloading them.
- What are your communication messages, internally and externally?
Look at how messages are received and be open, honest and clear on what will happen when. This should be ready for use. The quicker you share a full message, the less your reputation becomes tarnished.
- Support Mental Health in the Workplace
The Virus has created a situation, where we’re seeing increased mental health conditions.
Anxiety, depression and more can affect any of us at any time. Mental health support should be prevalent in your workplace. It sits alongside kindness and compassion.
Research shows 45 per cent of UK companies have a clearly-defined wellbeing strategy in place. (Business Matters (2017). MIND covers support in the workplace. It is a good resource.
Listening skills are key and giving employees the chance to open up in 1-2-1s is crucial. Do ask questions to understand. Recognise the bravery in opening up and show empathy.
Employers need to continue to grow support in this area. As Leaders, you need to also look after your mental health.
- Create a switch off routine from work. I put my laptop and notebooks, I’m using in a workbag at the end of the day and shut the room door. Find some way of signalling the time for personal life.
- Schedule in a walk or some exercise as sitting at a desk all day is so draining.
- Understand your purpose in the business world as that creates passion and motivation.
- Make sure you drink enough fluid across the day (and not alcohol 😊)
- Look at implementing activities that create calmness in you or allow you to switch off.
Adapting and scanning the horizon as a leader is key. It’s vital as a leader you keep an agile approach.
Also, equip yourself to lead in uncertainty. Because ambiguity and uncertainty are not going away.
Struggling with team issues and getting your teams on board with your business vision?
Want help but worried about the cost?
Look at it this way, if you do nothing what will change?
Whereas investing will grow your teams and business and equip them to perform better, work collaboratively and create more profitability.
Book a discovery call now.