How do I do this? How often should I reach out to my team? How human can I be right now? Who can I go to?
These are all things that I’ve heard from clients in the past 2 weeks. Hard truth: none of us has ever done before; therefore no one can tell you how to do it. What I can tell you is that people are watching you. As a leader, your team is looking to you for guidance. They’re looking for you for support. They’re looking to you for shared humanity.
So, when you’ve never done this before and everyone is looking to you, what are you supposed to do?
Show up. Be human. Let your people be human. Get support for yourself so that you can continue to show up.
Leadership right now is critical, and even before this pandemic, much of the data on trust pointed to people having a higher level of trust in their organizations than they ever had in the past. For many people, that’s still true, and for leaders, that’s a huge responsibility to carry on top of your own fears, worries, and anxieties.
When you’re people are looking to you, where do you look? Ideally, you are able to look to your leader, or a mentor within the organization. If you’re at the top of the company or internal folks aren’t an option, it’s more critical now than ever before, that you have external support for yourself (more on that next week.)
Remember that you’re human before you’re anything else. You’re experiencing the same feelings your team is experiencing, so the tools that you normally use to stay grounded are now non-negotiable & could probably be amped up. Your team needs you to be human…and grounded.
- Try implementing a short personal check in at the start of every meeting.
- Consider having one-on-ones twice a week right now (and relax the rules around kids & pets in the background.)
- Let them know that you’re feeling what they’re feeling…and the things you’re doing to keep going and prepare for the future.
- Show them the things that haven’t changed. There’s value in having some things that are the same as they were a month ago.
- Acknowledge when you make a mistake, celebrate every little win, and lean into your values.
This pandemic will end. Things will look different in a few months. Your leadership is showing now more than ever, so lean into the things that support you. Let your leadership be more human – now, and when all of this is over.