Leading During Covid: Your Employees Are Counting on You!
You can’t pick and choose when you want to lead. We didn’t choose to become leaders because it was going to be easy. We wanted to be the person others could count on to take control, to handle and navigate through any situation, no matter its size or complexity. Now is the time to step up. Your employees are counting on you. They believe in you.
How we lead right now says much about us. In times of adversity and change, we really discover who we are and what we’re made of. One of my favorite quotes is, “Tough times don’t build character, they reveal it.”
It is imperative to confidently show all our employees that this pandemic is temporary and will pass. We must appreciate the anxiety and stress every employee, fellow leader, vendor, and customer are experiencing in these difficult times. Morale is bound to be low. We must do our best to reduce fear and anxiety.
Communicate like never before
You are the only one to tell your story. Employees are hearing misinformation at an alarming rate from all directions, feeding their fear and anxiety and allowing them to imagine the worst. Employer communication is the most credible source of information during times like these.
Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Your employees need to hear from you more than ever, and not just through emails and texting. Your #1 KPI should be measuring your communication time (preferably with live video) with colleagues, advisors, friends, and extended family each day. Dramatically up your talk time.
Months from now, not one employee will complain by saying, “My boss was so annoying during the pandemic.” In all our communication, we must be 100% transparent, especially with our team. Make sure your employees know the sacrifices everyone is making, including the company, such as tapping into lines of credit, cutting executives’ salaries, etc. While we don’t know when or how soon “normal” will return, let them know your short- and long-term strategies.
Refer back to your core values, mission, purpose, and service vision statements. This is why you created them. They are the foundation of what your business was built on. Pull them out, dust them off, and talk about what they mean during times like this. Walk the talk, and constantly share examples of how your people are modeling them through times like this.
John R. DiJulius III, author of is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies including Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, PwC, Lexus, and many more. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or email@example.com.
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