When the planes hit the twin towers in New York that fateful 2001 September day, you couldn’t help but stay glued to the news. Never before had a TV been front and centre in any workplace I had worked in, but there it was. A constant news feed of the events unfolding.
I couldn’t look away and in equal measure I also felt like I had to switch off, to step back and give myself a break from the tragedy.
These last weeks, and how countries and companies are handling COVID-19 reminded me of how I was triggered during September 11.
Last weekend I attended my industry association’s annual conference and we naturally discussed this current crisis. As speakers and educators our industry has all but come to a screeching holt. This called for creativity and agility to continue to serve our clients.
As I sat and listened and observed my peers, it came to me that leaders need to be Broadcasters and Barometers right now.
- Be the beacon that the team can come to for facts, direction and decisions.
- Avoid getting swept up into speculation.
- Be consistent in sharing updates from reputable sources.
- Now is a time to find the right information and disseminate it in the most reachable format with the right tone.
- Be the voice of calm amidst potential chaos.
- Be the voice of reason while rationing and panic buying is triggering some of our, human yet, less favourable behaviours.
A 24/7 news feed approach will potentially trigger overwhelm, yet a vacuum of silence will lead people to make up stories, and some of those stores may have an adverse affect.
Measure the temperature of the team. Check in. Allocate time for this. Be deliberate in being present.
Ask how people are feeling and listen. This will give you the information to guide how you can broadcast the most effectively, with the right information, in the right tone.
Productive Leadership Starts with YOU
Are you getting the support, information and help you need? Now more than ever it is critical that you can be the role model your team needs.
Take a moment to get clear about what help you need, and make your request as specific as possible so that it’s easier for others to help you.
On Sunday (15th March) and Monday (16th March) I was fielding calls from clients asking for ideas of how to help them help their teams stay productive.
I shared the idea of broadcaster and barometer with them and I offered these three guiding questions:
1. Ask direct and specific questions to learn how people are feeling?
2. Ask the team what actions they can take to maintain, as best possible, business as usual. Involve them in creating (and hence owning) a ‘living and evolving’ action plan.
3. Ask the team how, collectively, they can support each other through this. Invite those who may have felt or thought as though they didn’t have any influence to step up and be a support for others.
Get people out of their heads and focusing on the work they can do and the support they can give. This will lift spirits, and help people focus on positive action.
I’m currently working with a few clients to deliver programs online. I’m already delivering the DELEGATE workshop as a live online program, with great success.
The Productive Leader and Successful Feedback are being converted right now.
I’m also creating a live online Action and Accountability program with one team: action planning, chunking sessions, accountability and coaching.
If these interest you as a means to help your team stay productive while working from home, then let’s chat.