by Valerie Delaney, Principal, Learning and Development
It’s really difficult to handle the COVID-19 news updates coming at us, to comprehend the level of suffering and loss being experienced around the world, to manage our health and anxiety, as we live and work (many of us) now in self-isolation. But, if you are like us here at Delaney, we are determined to come out of this crisis stronger and more connected.
The most important part of our recovery plan is our amazing team of consulting and training specialists. You probably have an amazing team, too. I hope you do because we’ll all need to be part of a team – in one way or another – to journey down this path with grace and grit. What can you do to support your team during this time of unprecedented (at least in our lifetime) threat and uncertainty?
Three Cs to help ensure you HAVE a team when it’s time to return to business as usual:
Stephen Covey said, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communications.” I think he got that exactly right. First and foremost, trust your team and trust your instincts. Trust that your team can “handle the truth”. Be honest about what is happening in the organization – good and bad; what efforts are being made to reduce negative impacts on people; what the “new normal” might look like at the end of the tunnel. Trust your instincts. Have a hunch the team wants to know something? Chances are you’re right. Respond. Have a hunch someone is hurting? Act. This is not the time to do a deep dive into corporate communications theory. Just get out there and talk with your team.
Second, add some routine to your communications and stick to it. Whether it’s a daily phone call to check in, or a team email mid-week, the important thing is to make a plan and stick to it. A best bet is to bookend any given week with some form of communication to the team. The Monday morning memo and Friday wrap-up call can still happen – possibly with more purpose than ever. Regular, honest communication will help keep people connected during this difficult time.
Care about your team – the people who give their all to the group every day. Most of us have had the reckoning over the past days and weeks that things like work plans, deliverables, budgets and deadlines just don’t mean all that much right now – but people do. That’s what this fight is about – keeping our families, friends and teammates safe and healthy so we can play and work together soon. You probably already do nice things for your team to show your appreciation, and it’s still possible to do so even with people working remotely. If you run your own business, you can order flowers, books and gift cards online. Send money! Leading a team in a government setting? Make a phone call. Send a card. Share an article or video. Be creative when it comes to showing you care. And, be patient with your team. Every team includes someone who is far from home, lives on their own, has mental health challenges, carries huge family responsibilities – things we don’t care much about – or have the time to care about – in the course of day-to-day operations. Now, is the time to care.
There are days when I do not want to get out of bed. I do not want to be the best version of me. I do not have the ambition to read even a trashy romance – just nothing. Aforementioned grace and grit sorely lacking. What I do want is to pull the covers over my head and cry (if Rosie WOULD let me have any covers – terrible office dog). Maybe, I will do that one day, but for now, I commit to seeing this through as best I can. I commit to supporting the team in whatever way I can – to FILLING OUT FORMS!!! I commit to giving myself permission to have rotten days, but getting back to the “next important thing” as soon as I can. To that end, I hope you can commit along with me to take care of yourself, get sleep, eat healthy, and stay well. The “band”, or team, needs you.