In these challenging times, leaders ability to lead with compassion and focus are what the workers need. By working closely with HR, organizations can thrive by focusing on what matters the most: its people.
Here are some ways leaders can help:
1. Acknowledge - Leaders can help acknowledge that current situation is business unusual and that the organization is responding to the changes. Leaders can also acknowledge that the team may need some time to adjust their home situation. Acknowledgement is essential for humans to accept reality so they can chart their way forward.
2. Ask - Leaders can ask how they can support the team. By asking, it provides a reassurance for them to engage and ask for help if needed. For example, they may need to adjust meeting schedules to align with home situation (e.g. if they need to prepare for breakfast, work with children's school work, or if they need to help their parents).
3. Adapt - Leaders can work with HR to determine which work that are core & non-core. Core work means the work must be done at a certain time or it may impact the business's sustainability. Non-core work means deadlines can be adjusted according to the team's timeline. For core work, determine if the work needs to be done in the office, and if so, have a plan to complete it expeditiously while keeping everyone safe. For work that can be done remotely, develop a guideline on how to work from home: do daily stand-ups, collaborate via shared drive, and track projects together using productivity tools. Have a weekly video call where everyone can "meet & chat" about non-work related conversations. It will build their positive spirit and boost their motivation.
4. Accelerate - Once everyone adapts into working & collaborating remotely, this is the time where work gets done. Ask everyone to identify potentials for improvements, and do follow-ups on the progress and deliverables. Review timeline and work together to ensure everyone is on the same page. Leaders can help by providing a safe space for collaboration: establish ground rules, communicate clearly, "listen" to all ideas, ask open-ended questions, and take turns in leading the meeting.
5. Acclaim - Working remotely doesn't mean less celebration. Create quick wins and celebrate by giving emojis, high-fives, & praise for jobs well done. Have video calls on someone's birthdays or on project milestones. Such gestures will build team's engagement and confidence in their ability to tackle any challenges & opportunities ahead.
Leaders can be role models for the team to lead in the times of uncertainties by acknowledging business unusual and forging ahead with clear vision and communication. By managing the change effectively, organizations that puts their people first are the ones that will thrive and win in the end. And these are the kinds of organizations we need right now. Because when organizations thrive, the nation will thrive.
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