By Dr. Mickey Parsons, MCC, BCC
As winter approaches and the Covid-19 pandemic drags on with no end in sight, most of my executive and leadership coaching clients are preparing for a prolonged period of remote work and social distancing. They know that in the absence of the vital in-person connections that sustain us both at work and in our personal lives, it could be a tough winter.
For workplace leaders, this situation demands a renewed focus on the human side of leadership. As leaders, we must make room to recognize and respond to the difficulties and challenges that our team members, colleagues and clients are coping with at work and in their personal lives.
I’m encouraging the leaders I coach to set aside more time than usual to check in on the wellbeing of their team members. During phone calls and videoconferences, ask concerned questions – How are things going for you these days? How’s the family? How are the kids managing with online school? Then listen closely to the answers and showing through their actions that they care.
Promote healthy self-care
Skillful leaders understand that these interactions can help employees stay focused and connected during tough times. They know that at the end of the day building strong personal connections is essential to business success.
Many leaders I know are also devoting more time to their own personal development and self-care. This is healthy, psychologically flexible behavior. For my part, I’m taking advantage of Zoom yoga classes offered by my local yoga studio. It’s one way I’m staying connected to a community and a personal wellness practice that both grounds and energizes me during a chaotic and uncertain time.
As the pandemic grinds on, we will all need to recommit to self-care, whatever form that takes. As leaders, we should encourage our team members to do the same. And we must give them the freedom and flexibility to do so.
Equip your team for success
During this time of great uncertainty, leaders must extend themselves beyond the technical requirements of their leadership role to attend to the people they lead and create a positive workplace environment, even when the workplace is a home office.
This means offering your employees support, guidance and encouragement. It means acknowledging the unusual difficulties created by these unusual times. It means listening closely to your employees’ concerns and challenges. It means showing empathy for their personal struggles.
Taking these types of steps, together with appropriate self-care and personal development, will foster the psychological flexibility and resiliency that will allow you and your team to cope with uncertainty and make the rapid-fire pivots that will likely be required for the foreseeable future.
The Workplace Coach can help
At The Workplace Coach, our leadership development experts and executive coaching team can provide you and your management team with the tools, insights and resources you need to develop the leadership practices that will create sustained business success, in a time of crisis and beyond.