5 Leadership Techniques to Adopt During Uncertainty
We’re all well aware of the great disruptions COVID-19 has caused for people’s personal and professional lives; the financial and organisational impact it’s had on business, and the damage it’s done and continues to do to the national and global economy.
During these distressing times, employees are aware of the financial burden their employers are facing, and the unfortunate reality that many businesses will be forced to shut down, or relieve staff. But while leaders are scurrying to find solutions to minimise risk and damage, there’s one important commodity that should not be forgotten: the people.
It’s the responsibility of leaders to keep their staff positive and motivated, and enforce transparent communication during these times. Fear will cause a drop in motivation and an even greater drop in productivity and profit, which is why keeping your people happy and engaged, is the first and most important step to minimise financial risk.
1. Educate employees on the facts
Unfortunately, most people keep abreast of the latest news via social media, and often unknowingly, rely on untrustworthy sources of information. The spread of nonfactual/inaccurate information about COVID-19 instils fear and creates a negative hype that ought to be eliminated immediately – especially amongst the workforce. It’s important, as a leader, to share the facts with your workforce and enlighten your team on the positives unfolding right now. For example, Wuhan closed its last makeshift Coronavirus hospital due to a great drop in cases. After two months since the beginning of the outbreak, China has been able to gain control of the spread. This is likely to be the case for the rest of the world, given the measures countries are implementing worldwide.
2. Eliminate financial concerns
Communication is the key to eliminating financial concerns. Employees would rather know the possibilities than wonder what the future holds for them. Whether the prospects are positive or negative, the workforce appreciates the truth, and this is certainly one way of demonstrating your organisation’s core values. Remember to emphasise that the financial future of the business also lays in their hands. If they continue to perform and remain motivated even while working remotely, the chances of a financial downfall is minimised.
3. Maintain employee engagement even while employees work remotely
Strong employee engagement processes and attitudes can sometimes take months or even years to establish in the workplace, and can quickly be harmed if not thoroughly maintained. With a remote workforce, employee engagement strategies will need to be reviewed and revised. Technology will play an integral part in maintaining communication and cohesion through the use of task management platforms such as Trello; communication apps such as Skype or WhatsApp and the implementation of video calling for team meetings. Simply checking in with individuals and showing genuine concern for them and their families’ emotional and physical wellbeing also goes a long way. Sharing team productivity and setting attainable goals is another way to boost motivation and generate positivity – the more normalcy a leader can create, the better.
4. Listen to the workforce
The key to employee engagement is listening to the needs and desires of your workforce. While there may be few solutions at this point, and while organisations are just as unsure about the future, it’s imperative that the two parties (the staff and management) work together to find solutions. Both parties ought to compromise and work fairly, and both ought to listen to the needs of one another. When people come together, great challenges can be overcome. Employee engagement ensures all have a voice, and all are taken into consideration when decisions are made.
5. Create hope for the future
While this is a stressful time for all, there is always some good to be found in challenging circumstances. Right now, businesses especially are forced to re-evaluate and re-adjust their strategies, which may in fact create greater opportunities for growth. And while employees are in isolation, there’s room for personal growth whether it be through reading or taking online courses to refine their skills. Leaders are visionaries; they keep their team optimistic and their spirits high during adversity – and this time should be no different.