During this time of self-isolation and not meeting face-to-face with colleagues and friends we can become reclusive. We can even feel lonely and unmotivated. Many leaders may want to turn inwards and focus on reading and watching endless webinars. Yet a healthier alternative to navigate this unsettling time is to reach out and allow our leadership humanity to shine.
This is the very moment of truth that begs each of us to pivot to our kinder and compassionate sides. This exact time is a test of our resilience and courage- our ability to help others feel stronger. Leaders across the globe have the gift to brighten up their own sense of dislocation and add a smile of assurance to the lives of others.
Here are five ways to lead by staying connected:
1. Set Up Face-To-Face Check-In Calls
Many leaders and organizations have already gotten well-versed in team virtual meetings. These are great and very helpful in knowing what is happening and what everyone is working on. An additional way to connect more deeply with individuals on our teams is by setting up individual time with colleagues and team members. What does that look like? Establish a routine one-on-one schedule that gives people a chance to share more personally. Ask how their family is doing and how they are coping. Find out how you can help them stay upbeat and motivated. Get to know what makes them tick.
During times of crisis leaders need to establish virtual one-on-one check-ins with their team members.
2. Build A Buddy System
In a non-profit that I am involved, we have created a buddy system that connects everyone to one of the board members. It is so important to reach out to make sure every member is cared for. We can do this with our teams also. Here’s how:
- Assign each team member a buddy to call.
- Decide on the frequency of the calls. Maybe once a week.
- Send out questions to ask each other and change them up each week.
- Share concerns that come up and how to address them.
3. Collaborate Over Meals
This is a comforting strategy for many leaders and the people in their lives. It is also a fun way to break bread and share thoughts. Whether it be a coffee, lunch or dinner set up a FaceTime, Zoom or Skype call where each person has their meal and think of it as being right next to each other. Create a virtual Happy Hour. It doesn’t matter what we call the occasion as long as it is social and relaxing.
4. Don’t Forget About Clients
This is a critical time to show our clients how much they matter to us. They too are going through difficult times and leaders step up by seeing how they are doing. To reach out to clients:
- Develop a schedule to connect with customers.
- Contact them though either phone calls or Zoom calls.
- First ask about their physical and mental health.
- Listen actively to hear what they are saying.
- Respond with empathy and brainstorm solutions together.
During a pandemic, leaders reach out to clients and listen with empathy about their concerns
5. Create A Family Or Team Journal
An empowering way to connect with family or colleagues is by creating a journal that describes what they are experiencing and how they are feeling. Everyone should get a chance to share and add their perspectives. Include pictures and drawings of how each person is surviving. Pass around the journal as a living document so it will become the family or team account of how the pandemic impacted each of our lives.
How are you or your team staying connected during this difficult time?