Remember the movie “The Perfect Storm” with George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Diane Lane? It was based on a true story documenting the challenges a fishing boat named Andrea Gail and its six-member crew faced in 1991 during one of the worst storms the North Atlantic had ever seen. Sadly, the storm proved too much for the fishing boat and it was deemed lost at sea. It has been almost 30 years since that unfortunate tragedy, but the lessons of leadership, teamwork, and struggle are not lost.
Today, the world is facing yet another “perfect storm,” just in the form of a global pandemic. Except, this time, the teams are dissected and operating virtually, the leader is separated from their teams leading virtually, and the threat is invisible. Thanks to advances in technology over the past 30 years, this scenario, as dynamic as it may seem, is not impossible. Now is the time for leaders to embrace roles and responsibilities, dig in, and prepare for a long, challenging journey.
Like the captain of a ship (leader of the team), you are responsible for the overall well-being of the organization and its people. The decisions you make will directly impact the team and could have positive or negative results. You need each team member operating at their best to complete the mission; understand that people will respond at their own pace and experience different challenges that may hinder their performance.
Moving from working together in the office to now virtually with my team has been a challenge, as well as having to address the fears and unknowns that come up along the way due to the current crisis. Like a ship in a storm, as the captain or leader, you have to navigate them through the tough stretches. Take those more challenging waves in stride, one by one. Now is the time to implement the specific leadership style your team needs to keep them feeling safe, connected, and productive.
After taking ownership, leadership is about equipping and empowering. There are many different industries who have been forced to move from physical, in-person business to online, virtual operations. There are many different generations, personalities, and skill sets in the workplace today, and not everyone is well-versed in the type of technology and communication tools required for successful virtual networking and operations. Leaders can assist teams with navigating tough times by identifying problems and offering solutions that fill the gap, and increase knowledge and productivity.
In addition to moving to virtual operations, working with clients to move them from in-person to online training has also been a difficult transition. Some of them are not very tech-savvy, nor are they used to doing online training. In-person training was all they knew. We have experience in online training, so we are helping them to navigate the areas that might be slowing them down.
Whether your business challenge is training, connectivity, communication, or technology, commit yourself to see it through. Take care of the team along the way, navigating them through the unknowns of this new storm we are all facing, and back to a place of feeling safe and productive, together.
What tough stretches are you and your team facing? In what ways are you able to navigate them through it?