Firstly, I hope you are all well and staying safe. These are remarkable times but, remember, today is just another day nearer to when we will be able to get back to normal.
For many of us, the lockdown means that some of us are unemployed, some are working from home, some are bravely going out into the world and carrying on their duties as best they can in very difficult circumstances.
This makes me wonder about the nature of leadership in such trying times. How do you keep your staff motivated and engaged? Here are my five top tips:
1. Clear purpose
A leader creates a clear purpose and explains it frequently. We are all likely to have moments of fear and panic, moments of confusion, so a good leader explains the WHY often. In hospitals, it is obvious, you are saving lives but what about if you work in a supermarket? How do you motivate staff to come in and stack shelves or work on the tills when there is this virus spreading around? Maybe you tell your staff that by coming in they are helping to feed people who are stuck at home. Maybe you can explain that you are likely to be the only human contact many people are getting these days.
2. Check in
As I mentioned, we are all dealing with uncertainty and it will have different impacts on people. A good leader never assumes that everyone is fine. A good leader frequently checks in with each member of staff. They find quiet moments to take each person aside and ask them how they are doing, ideally on a daily basis.
3. They ask for ideas
In such new times, leaders will not have the answers. The people on the front line will. A good leader constantly asks what more can be done, what can we do differently. It allows the staff to feel they have some measure of control if they can contribute ideas and make changes.
4. They take the long view
This lock down will last several weeks or months and the effects will last for years. Life may never get back to the normal we experienced before. So what things can we learn? What opportunities exist? What new things can we learn? By asking these questions, a leader is helping they team to look beyond the current dark times and is starting to give them optimism and hope for a new future.
5. They say thank you
Final tip is to make sure people feel recognised and appreciated. At the end of every day, say “Thank you” for their efforts, whether they are face to face or remotely. Let them know how grateful you are for their work.
A leader will show their true mettle times of crisis … so I hope all you managers out there are showing the world how amazing you really are.
Stay safe and we will get there.