Lessons from Leading while Social Distancing

by | Apr 3, 2020 | CEO/Executive Directors | 0 comments

A couple weeks ago, I share three things leaders were doing to get through this crisis without losing their head. Here’s an update from this past week.

3 Things Leaders are doing to lead effectively through the pandemic

I’m seeing so many varied responses to the pandemic. Leaders are being required to make incredibly tough decisions. And millions are learning to work from spaces never intended for work.

But for many, it’s working.

1.Taking more time

For years, my friend Hildy Gottlieb typically starts meetings with sharing “awesomes.” She invites everyone to share something awesome that’s happened to them in the past week. It doesn’t have to be work related. Good things happen in many different parts of life. This process feels like it’s taking time, but it transforms the meeting. People are more fully present for the rest of the meeting. And the team is strengthened.

What to try: In a season of Zoom calls, taking time for things like this help build team trust and cohesion. If sharing awesomes doesn’t feel right, try taking time to meet the kids who walk past. Or checking in to see how people are doing. None of us planned for this. And it’s amazing to see how grateful people are for a bit of kindness and understanding from their boss.

2. Learning to interact with different tools

Leaders used to seeing their employees are now changing how they communicate with their team. Some leaders are finding it more effective to learn how their team best communicates. Some prefer phone, others text, still others a video call. Knowing which is the best for each team member is a hassle. But it ends up saving these leaders time.

What to try: If someone isn’t responding to you in a timely manner, try reaching out through a different tool. If you’re normally emailing, try a Facebook Message. If you prefer calling but they’re not answering, try texting. Take a note of what tool works best for each of your team.

3. Communicating more frequently

This week, Don Miller shared that he clearly told his staff the cash flow situation. He even gave them the date that, if nothing changed, they’d be paying for the business from its reserves. This level of clarity helped his entire team feel like they knew a bit more of the path forward. And it unleashed their creativity in coming up with ways to make up for the lost revenue from their canceled events.

What to try: Where can you help your team know the next steps even when they seem uncertain? Can you do what Don did? Or, if you’ve had to let your team go, do they know what needs to happen so you can hire them back? Leaders are finding open communication to be powerful right now.

Smart, Capable, and Good

These are three things leaders are doing this week that are helping them focus on moving through this crisis.

As you go through the next week, try also reminding yourself these words from communication expert Tamsen Webster: people are smart, capable, and good. Your team and the people around you don’t wake up each morning trying to make your life difficult. Remembering that people are smart and capable might give you enough space to figure out why something isn’t coming out the way you want it.

Help with Focus

I’m also hearing that leaders are finding it hard to focus. In the stress of the pandemic, cash flow, self-isolation, and the unknown is many are looking at the clock and wondering what they did with their last hour.

Stay Focused!To help, I’ve released a tool I’ve been using. Inspired by a daily one sheet my friend Rob Hatch uses, my planning sheet has three areas:

  • Calls/Meetings
  • Projects
  • Follow Ups

This can sit beside you wherever you’re able to have a workspace – even your couch. Taking a few minutes at the start of the day to go through this process will help you end the day knowing you moved forward the most important things. You can download it for free at: The Daily Planning Focus Sheet: https://concordleadershipgroup.com/daily-focus/.

Thank you for continuing to lead. You’re needed now more than ever.


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