Successful leadership during coronavirus isn’t a topic I ever dreamed I would be writing about. Leadership during a pandemic isn’t exactly a chapter in a business school textbook! In fact, it’s probably safe to say that coronavirus is something that has pretty much thrown everyone in the country—no, make that the world—for a loop.
The plans you made for your team for the first and second quarters of 2020 more than likely have taken a sharp turn—maybe in an entirely different direction. How are you handling it? How is your team handling it? Have you been able to stay flexible enough to shift and change with these frightening, uncertain times?
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to successfully pull your team through the pandemic is to stay in the game as your team’s coach. Successful leadership during coronavirus is critical. Your team is looking to you for guidance and reassurance. Are you touching base with them regularly to see how they’re doing and to see how you can assist them? I’m not referring to micromanaging—no one likes or appreciates that. What I’m talking about is letting them know that you value them and what they bring to the table. Just as importantly, they need to believe that you’re there to listen and to help them.
We’ve talked for the past few posts about working toward the goal of staying out of the weeds of working management so that your mental bandwidth and time are free to be able to work on a strategic level of leadership. Sometimes, though, it’s just as important for your team members to have that level of trust with you that allows them to ask for help and know they will get what they need. You need to be able to step in to help them when those circumstances arise. With so many people working remotely, it’s possible that now is that time.
As the leader of a team, you don’t have to know every detail and process of what the people you manage are working on, but you do need to have a fairly good grasp of what they’re doing. Can you help them trouble shoot and find solutions? If you’re stuck in day-to-day operational duties, you don’t have the capacity to jump in to help them. It’s a delicate balance between being too removed from what your team members are working on and being in the trenches yourself. Navigating that balance and having solid relationships with the members of your team are exactly what successful leadership during coronavirus—or any crisis—looks like.
Reach out if you’d like to chat about how you can engage with your team members to build meaningful relationships built on a solid foundation. The coronavirus crisis will end, and you’ll need to be able to lead your team successfully back into a normal routine. The relationships and trust you build now will pay dividends well into the future. Until next time, stay safe, work as a team, and stay in the game!