Leading Through Pandemic Times
The fundamentals are the same, but the execution has to be different…
It’s easy to fall in panic and think that leading your team or organization in the middle of a pandemic it’s impossible. Especially if your organization has a long tradition of a “face to face” for doing all daily tasks, with reluctancy to adopt new technologies.
It’s in these times were we need to be willing to innovate. Willing to do what it’s necessary to perform at the same or better than before, even if it feels uncomfortable or unnatural.
Therefore, there are three qualities that will help us navigate the uncertain times with decisiveness:
Focus on your teammates
If for us having the wheel as leaders in these uncertain times seem a bit overwhelming, even if we are making the call whish way to go, imagine riding in the back of the bus with not only knowing this is an unknown road for them and also for the driver. They feel they have little to say about what will happen to the organization, and most of all, what will happen to them.
It is for that reason that we have to make sure that we reach out to each and every one of them and let them know that the most important thing for us as leaders is the wellbeing of them.
I can’t stop thinking about my team and the individual challenges they face. Some of them are part of a young family and, with the schools closed, they have to juggle telecons and tantrums.
Reassuring them is the most important thing. Going back to the metaphor of driving through and unknown road, if the driver turns back at you and say, “don’t worry, we are going to make it”, that makes you feel better than seen the driver either freaking out.
From the micro to the macro
Through these times, specially if we are working remote, your team will be as good as it’s parts. If we make sure that everyone is ok, the team will be ok.
We have to make sure that the individual necessities and concerns of each teammate are satisfied, before pretending that they will perform in great coordination with the rest of the team.
We can’t just assume that people are on a great state of mind. If lapses in performance are evident, we have to make sure we can address that at the individual level, since it will have a dramatic effect at the team level.
Make sure everyone is heard
If having full team participation on a face to face meeting is difficult, imagine during a teleconference, or just during an email exchange.
Many people haven’t found their authentic telework voice. Workers (and even leaders), haven’t been able to use the current platforms to assert their competency and contributions to the team.
It is the responsibility of the leader or manager to make sure the new channels are easily navigable by everyone in the organization. Lack of adequate participation of everyone in your team could result in a major error or missed opportunities.
In other words, everything revolves on how easily we can empower or teammates and take them on a familiar territory so the team can come back to perform as they did before the pandemic.