In times like these it truly boils down to HOW YOU SHOW UP as a leader. Allow yourself and your team a certain flexibility. There's an adjustment phase in all of our lifestyles right now due to the new given circumstances and truth is, it will look different for every single one of us.
Working with businesses, I always encourage leadership, COVID-19 or not, to give more space to their staff. There's usually a lot of fear around giving people the freedom to work in a way that suits their personality much more. It's unfamiliar and we are usually afraid of the unknown. We have been programmed to operate in a more rigid approach. Literally the second we stepped foot into kindergarten and school it all started with ‘this is how things are’.
We assume people will take advantage of a bit more space or show up less focused or motivated. It's actually the total opposite!
Remote work environments and teams flourish much more efficiently when the executive level has faith in their employees. Knowing they will do the same level of work at home as they would in the office.
You've invested all this time and care in choosing each team member wisely (before you even brought them aboard your ship).... so why doubt your own judgment now!
And truly - any kind of micromanagement of supervision will backfire. Even remotely - problems will reveal themselves pretty fast.
A lot of businesses are struggling with finding a certain flow right now. More so the ones that didn’t have an existing framework and a fluid communication base in place prior to this crisis.
That’s exactly why I’m here to help! And today I actually just wanted to share a few suggestions moving forward and through these interesting times we are in.
SO HERE ARE A FEW INSIGHTS I’VE GAINED OVER THE PAST DECADE OR SO WORKING IN THE CORPORATE AND SMALL BUSINESS WORLD.
6 INSPIRING IDEAS ON HOW TO GUIDE & MANAGE YOUR TEAM WHILE EVERYONE WORKS REMOTELY OUT OF THEIR HOMES.
1️⃣ EMPOWER THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU - BOTH: TOP + BOTTOM 💡
Great Leaders set themselves apart by effectively guiding and empowering their co-leaders and teams, especially in a time of crisis.
What I’ve noticed over the past decade of wearing many different hats myself is the following - the flatter the corporate hierarchy, the more likely it is that employees will communicate any kind of news or share their amazing ideas. If your staff does not feel heard or comfortable enough around leadership they will never be able to fully contribute their wisdom and insights.
As we are moving through uncomfortable times on a global scale, people are worried about their jobs and ability to financially uphold their lifestyle. Let them know they are valued - right now more so than ever. Be transparent!
If there is one thing every visionary who’s made a global impact has in common; it is the appreciation and importance of a strong and supportive team by his/her side.
Let people know how much of a difference it makes that you all show up together and work together through this crisis, rather than only leadership trying to ‘push’ out of a well practiced hierarchical fear state.
Truly - in order to change a businesses direction and attitude it has to come from the top first!
2️⃣ PEOPLE ARE STILL IN EMERGENCY MODE ⛔
I feel this is very important for anyone to remember. Especially as the fast paced and driven society that we are.
We need to be aware and conscious of the fact that a lot of people are still experiencing ‘internal unease’. So any action taken out of a 'fight or flight' state does not allow a person to fully be present. Truly - It's an actual scientifically proven physical phenomenon and many people may not even realize they are in ‘fight or flight’ mode themselves.
How it shows up though is that your nervous system sounds its alarm bells to activate a chemical stress response when you’re confronted with a life-threatening event. ( I would say a global pandemic would be one of those very severe and real triggers).
Your nervous system therefore stimulates a reaction where your blood pressure increases to supply more oxygen to your brain and muscles, in order for you to defend yourself or run for your life. Your focus narrows down to a tunnel vision in order to meet the current threat. Our instincts are designed so that in a state of extreme stress, our fight or flight response kicks in. Our glands start pumping adrenaline into our bloodstream, which makes our blood sugar levels rise so that we have the energy to flee the immediate danger. 😷
Now here’s the thing though. Animals naturally readjust their nervous system to its normal calm but alert state...Humans, unfortunately, lose this innate ability after the first six to eight weeks of life, so we get stuck and can’t wind down.
We’re continually on red alert, with adrenaline zooming through our bodies, because of our nonstop stress. You sleep but do not rest well... are unable to meditate, and your mind runs wild. Your world feels no longer safe.
There’s nothing as lethal to our organs as high levels of cortisol, a substance that’s toxic to the brain. But as your mind goes in ‘replay’ mode our brain is unable to differentiate between a real stressor and a ‘recorded’ one. Our brains respond to both - real and imagined stressors by triggering the above mentioned response. It has been my observation that most people are living in some form of ongoing fight or flight.
So have grace! 🙏
Which leads me to my third recommendation....
3️⃣ ENCOURAGE MENTAL BREAKS & SELF CARE 🏋
Even when we do our best to manage stress, we tend to tap into that fight or flight state far too easily and often.
Know though that our nervous system is designed for self-preservation so once a threat has passed your heart rate will slow down again, your digestion will go back to normal and your body will return to its natural baseline of calm. It re-opens your perspective and you can now clearly decide on the most appropriate course of action, rather than just being in ‘react’ mode.
Truly - Set an example and make more space and allowance for social connection despite the 6-feet apart and lockdown rules (maybe create a virtual space in which people can chat about anything none work related).
When we have positive interactions with others, we are flooded with serotonin and oxytocin which we all know as ‘happy hormones’.
Maybe even suggest consistent physical activity within one of your virtual meetings. In addition to movement being good for overall health, regular movement also enhances the ability to make focused decisions and allows people to take in new information faster.
So as the leader that you are, please remember we all want to be connected to a community. A community in which we feel a sense of belonging and valued for who we are - a place we feel we are truly contributing to something much greater than ourselves.
4️⃣ BUILD A REMOTE ENVIRONMENT THAT ALLOWS EVERYONE TO SUCCEED 🛡
There are actually a few simple ways on how to assist in making everyone work more effectively than they did back in the office in this time of COVID-19.
One of the key aspects is to keep employees productive and engaged.
You want to help strengthen a new remote collaboration and communication base that most likely takes place every day for the next few weeks.
You want to consciously establish and maintain a positive company culture - truly - this is a big quality of inspiring leaders. To keep a certain level of humor and humanity with everyone you connect with. It will change your daily operations in an incredible way - I mean it!
It’s the special 'something' in the air! This is something you don’t want to underestimate and always want to keep in mind while running a conscious business.
Uplevel your communication and prioritize what projects are most important each day. Even if it means letting go of the concept of the 9 to 5 workday right now or needing to put certain processes on hold.
The key to good management is never proximity or scrutiny in the first place. People showing up focused, eager and motivated don't punch a clock anyways.
Please remember - I truly can not emphasize this enough... What’s draining to everyone right now is not just adapting to a new workflow or new way of communicating with colleagues, but learning all of the little things that would never come up in your yearly review - like whether you have successfully established certain boundaries with your family, have a space to work out of that's comfortable, or who's making lunches and putting together a daily schedule for the kids while schools are closed.
So have grace and help your team find their own rhythm that allows them to fully show up despite children running around their house and personal schedules being flipped upside down.
5️⃣ WHATEVER YOU DO - BE GENUINE & HONEST ❤
As I have mentioned before. This could be your time to stand out and establish new grounds for your business and way of how you connect with your team.
People are looking at you to lead the way, so support what you're asking your team to do.
If your staff knows you aren't willing to undergo the same hardship or danger or sacrifice they are, they won’t be showing up to take the extra mile either.
Demonstrate your commitment and care - and courage it takes you to adjust and adopt things in order for everything to still flourish. 🤜🤛
Truly this is an important piece - to connect with your team on an emotional level - to let them know you’re with them every step of the way. They will have a deeper understanding about all the difficult decisions you are making right now and why certain things may need to be done in a new way. ⚓
It is up to you to open up first and create opportunities of genuine and authentic conversations. You will be amazed what you can learn from your staff if you truly listen - especially in times of great change. People feel more comfortable opening up and sharing their thoughts and ideas if you make a sincere effort to get to know them.
6️⃣ TIME FEELS DIFFERENT TO US DURING A CRISIS ⌛
It really does. You may have experienced this yourself - I know I sure have.
At the start of the pandemic, everything that happened each day was new. Every piece of news was full of terrifying developments and jolting disruptions to our routines. And when everything is new to oneself, time stands still or moves very slowly. Almost like when you were a child - days turned endless, weeks passed at a chewing gum chewing pace.
So know you are not imagining your days to feel quite off time wise. This phenomenon has a simple cause, according to science. The more new and unexpected things we experience, the more memories we form. And the more memories we have of a time, the longer a period feels to us. 🕐 So slow down - breathe and take on one task at a time if needed. It’s all good.
In the end we truly all are in this together. 🌍
With so much love and compassion to you and your team. Thank you for showing up as your most committed and aware self right now!
Thank you for setting an example of courage and wholeheartedness in times of change! 👣👌
I truly hope my share inspires you to move through these turbulent times a touch easier.
From my little corner of the world (home office) to yours. 🌍❤