The wave of ongoing changes associated with the pandemic health and safety measures present a test to leaders. From executives to team leaders, their decisions and actions speak volume to their abilities in gaining confidence and carrying their teams through the crisis.
To be successful, emotional intelligence is particularly important at this time. You need to practise the following to instil a sense of calm and strong leadership.
- Be responsive instead of reactive
Depending on the industry and the degree of in-person customer interactions, the extent of operational changes could be quite demanding. They do create stress.
How you react to stressful situations reflects your ability to stay calm and think through the options objectively. Beware of your own response to stress. Do you jump to the first solution that comes to mind? Or do you go through a more deliberate thought process to get to a solution?
By taking a moment to understand the situation, consult others for input, and then draw a solid response plan, you have clarity on the direction. On the other hand, being reactive without thoughtful consideration could get yourself overly excited and create an alarming situation for others. You end up with a quick solution that is inferior.
- Be forthcoming instead of uncommunicative
Your team wants to be kept up-to-date on what the business plans to do to move forward. Would the business survive? Would they have a job?
While some leaders choose to be discreet with how much information to share, it is better to be forthcoming. Let your team know how the business is impacted. Share your plans relating to expense management. Communicate regularly even if you are uncertain how things would unfold.
The language you use in the messaging and the focus on end outcomes are key. Keep in mind that when you are open and honest about the situation, your team feel they are trusted. Essentially, you address their concerns even though it might not be all positive. It is a way to manage stress.
- Be empathetic instead of confrontational
Changes in professional and personal lives over the last while have generated new demands and attention to things that are normally taken care of by your team’s support systems. Their productivity likely would have taken a hit.
The situation for each person is different. Some team members might struggle with the juggling and would appreciate an empathetic ear. You need to carve out time for them. Listen with empathy and identify alternatives to help them address their challenges.
Being confrontational about productivity loss is not going to help. When you put yourself in their shoes, you show that you can relate to their situation. Your working with them strengthens the working relationship, leading to commitment and trust.
There will be a learning curve for everyone. And there will be an adjustment for the customers too. By acknowledging the challenges and taking a temperature check about the emotions involved, you cultivate a positive and receptive mindset. The end results are better collaboration and a stronger team.