September 15, 2020
Leading a team of people can be demanding in the best of times; it can feel like an uphill struggle making sure everyone is working together and on top form. Given the current demands of pivoting, distancing, regressing (more on that in the next article) and every other trendy verb, leaders need to be sure they are doing the right thing for their business and their people.
Have you taken these three actions?
ONE Talk with the whole team…and listen to them. Be open and transparent about the current state of business, tell them what you are doing to keep the ship afloat and then ask them for their thoughts. What could be done more effectively? What do they see as important work right now? Where are their priorities? How could communication between people be improved? Set up the discussion with a good opener e.g. “These are tricky times for everyone and now six months into Covid it’s a good time to reassess what we are doing and discuss what we could do differently…”
Some suggestions might expose a misunderstanding e.g. your priorities might not match theirs. Better to have this in the open and a healthy discussion, allowing you to reiterate some golden rules or explain again why X is a priority. Other suggestions could be debated but if you can take them on board as a pilot. A quick win can do wonders for morale. A pilot can always be reviewed
TWO Talk to each person one-to-one after the team meeting. Ask “how can I help you do your job even more effectively?” You could ask “what do you think of me?” but it would be a brave person to tell the whole truth to their boss; better to move the focus to actions you could take to help them.
Then ask if they have had any other ideas since the team meeting; this encourages the people who would not have spoken out in front of others.
Check that they are happy with the work they have to do. This is a chance to coach them in different, better, ways of working. Mental health is an issue that should always be addressed but equally giving someone one to one focused time on practical issues can prevent mental health becoming a problem. It’s good to talk but better to talk about practical issues.
THREE Finally, look for online resources that will provide practical support. Here’s a free e-learning course on Managing Change (other resources are available). This takes about 30-45 minutes to complete in your own time, at your own pace. It includes videos and downloadable resources. It is really aimed at managers but most employees would find it useful right now. The only health warning you should give is that the course has a short section on how to manage survivors after redundancies at the end. You might want to warn people that redundancies are not planned or only share with team leaders!
Take the free course here:
View the programme and download the brochure here: