In the last recession, I experienced it personally and witnessed the phenomenon of leaders stopping annual performance conversations because there was no money for raises. The outcome from the people I talked to was a decreased trust in their leaders and decreased clarity of what is my role?. This is not the last recession yet, but with the work from home directive that impacts millions of people, it has the potential to be worse because of the real risk to the mental health of our workforce. It is also a great opportunity for leaders to build healthier and stronger teams despite the challenging times we have ahead. This is a guide to make this opportunity a reality for your team, and the other significant relationships in your life. (I know this is a big claim, and yet the same things we do at work to build healthy relationships also work in our homes and communities)
As we go virtual with our work, our meetings, our friendships, and how we connect as families, don’t let distancing become isolation. Let me also state the obvious fact that just being talked at during virtual meetings or having to participate with choppy video and only hearing bits of the conversation FEELS like isolation. Here are some tips for leading well in social distancing so that the feeling of connectedness and trust within our team gets stronger during the time ahead of us.
- Have weekly meetings with your whole team. If you don’t do that and are not sure what it would look like check out the L10 Meeting ™ tool I use as an EOS Implementer ™ on eosworldwide.com or contact me and I will send you a copy.
- Make a habit to call each member or your team and your peers 2-3x a week to check-in. Ask about how the home office is working, if they need anything that would make it easier, what questions might be bouncing around the organization or their head that need an answer, and learn how their family is working in this new normal.
- Send them a gift card/cash to them every couple of weeks to spend for some takeout food at a local restaurant. These businesses are hurting with the new rules and many will fail if we don’t help a little. If budgets are cut at your business, dip into your wallet.
- Do a virtual happy hour every few weeks to end a day/a week and invite family members to attend. If you are looking for some ways to make it an impromptu team building session contact me. (What an opportunity – team gatherings without babysitters and logistics planning for space, food, etc!!!!! Give a seven-year old an audience and you could have talent show!)
- Have everyone (including you) on your team make a weekly list of 5 people, either personal or professional connections, and commit to do a check-in call. Make a weekly rhythm of reviewing and resetting the list and have people share share any impact stories from the conversations.
Know that the formula of Social Distancing = Social Isolation = Depression becomes a reality for you and for your team if we behave our way into it. Take it from someone who has personally experienced this reality, we need to do everything we can to help the people around us not experience it. Just because we have to social distance does not mean we have to experience the destructive mental and emotional effects of isolation – we need to be smarter than that. At work, the solution can start with you as a leader. At home it starts with you as the parent, spouse, and friend.
Let us all be lights of resilience and agave love.
If you have a new person let me share with you a tool I use to connect people through knowledge of each other called the Team Member Fact Sheet. For the first 10 leaders that ask I will mail you 2 of them so you can connect with a newer member of your team, despite this new virtual reality.