With the people slowly getting back to work there is a new level of uncertainty and anxiety. What will their new work life be like? Covid-19 has not gone away. How can we work safely? We know we can’t go back to pre-covid ways of working, Plans need to change and sometimes projects we’ve been working are no longer relevant and need to be scrapped in favour of something completely different.
Covid–19 is an extreme example of a seismic corporate event. Many of us have been through similar, but maybe not so extreme events in our careers. Some were handled well, others led to pain and a loss of efficiency which took years to recover. However, there are things team leaders can do to help their team make the most of this opportunity.
You may have experiences of something similar
Remember, most of us have experienced similar events in the past. A large multi-national company I worked for announced a reorganization. Almost overnight they removed a complete layer of management. People had no idea this was going to happen. It wasn’t foreseen or anticipated. It was obviously very bad for the people affected. However, there were repercussions for those colleagues that remained which needed urgent attention. Teams had to carry on but with a completely new decision-making process. A new reporting infra structure was rapidly created. In some ways this cut the period of uncertainty which happens when people fear for their jobs. However, it was a seismic event which team leaders had to manage.
Reassure your team that the pain will pass
Help your team understand that change is constant but at the same time this period of change is temporary. Get your team rapidly refocused on a new way of working as the first priority. Reassure them they are still employed. Roles may change but they are still part of the organization.
‘Firstly, we focused on our goals and secondly recognized that this was an opportunity for our team. We suddenly had a new normal very much as we have now under the influence of Covid–19.’
Team leaders must recognise the anxiety this period of change will bring to their people. They will be shocked and worried. It is at this time we find team leaders are at the heart of rebuilding trust. They are perfectly placed to give their team a belief that they will thrive in the future.
Build new relationships
There is no doubt Covid-19 will result in businesses changing their workforce. Unfortunately, people will lose their jobs in the economic downturn. This means old relationships will disappear and people will work differently with colleagues. A vital role for team leaders’ will be to forge new relationships with key people. This means working to identify new roles and responsibilities. Find out how people like to communicate and receive information from your team. Identify what happens when there are issues. This also needs to be clearly communicated with your team so they can fully play their part in the rebuild.
Be a confident leader
We are going through a temporarily firestorm. In these circumstances it is incumbent on the leaders of organizations to step up and talk to their teams about how they’re going to lead the organization through this period of uncertainty. The team leader has to stay focused on the positives and on delivering the products and services that the new the new normal is going to demand.
Great team leaders exude confidence. When they stand up their positive language and body language is infectious. People find these qualities reassuring and calming. We’ve all had experience of a leader who is clear, comfortable and positive, you feel confidence in them. In return it brings their team closer together. They then feed off one another’s positivity and energy which is important for building a strong new future.