In these uncertain times…
As leaders, we are responsible for more than the day-to-day work of our employees. Businesses are built by people to serve the needs of people and make life better. Sometimes we focus too much on numbers and money, and lose sight of the simple humanity in working together. Our humanity is on full display right now. We are all physically vulnerable, but we can use this time to be more emotionally vulnerable as well. This is an opportunity to be more open, connect deeper, and care more about one another.
Be there for your people
Stay aware that the people you lead are going through the same thing you are. Uncertainties, fears, and worries are shared by all of us. Check-in with people at the start of meetings and on 1:1's. Honestly share how you are doing. Be open to conversations, even spiritual ones, that may never have happened before. Listen and be there for whatever your people need and let them be there for you.
Work gives us some normalcy in an abnormal world and people will be very thankful if they are fortunate to work from home. We are more comfortable and feel safer in our own homes so don't be surprised if you see a different side of people on video calls. Embrace this and learn more about them. Personal performance may not be normal. It may go up for some and down for others. Be patient and understanding. Everyone will go through different things and emotions. Work is different so performance may be different.
Everyone needs downtime
Have set working times, stick to that schedule, and don't send things outside of normal hours. As a leader, people will feel they must work more or harder and think they are expected to respond immediately. Work whenever you want, but wait to send non-urgent things until normal hours. Give everyone the downtime they need to take care of themselves without unknowingly stressing them more.
Be remembered positively
Employees and customers will remember how they were treated in these times. Being a caring and honorable leader will be repaid with long-term trust and loyalty. We see the news of companies "doing the right thing" and it will change our behaviors for the future. The same will be true of your business and your team.
Stronger and better afterwards
Once this has passed, we will all be changed. How we work day-to-day will be different. Resilient businesses will be amazed what they accomplish together even when physically apart. Many companies will realize what has been said all along; that people make up a business and not a building or a location or a city.
At least for a little while, make people your core focus and humanity your core value.