Over the past two decades, the modern business world has shifted to a more transformational leadership approach. Leaders at every level are focused on equipping and empowering team members so they can perform at their best. As challenges continue to arise during the current pandemic, leaders are now more than ever focused on making sure each teammate is taken care of and thriving in their work-at-home environment.
There are many steps leaders can take when managing through change, but this is by far the most important. Just show you care. Have a heart for helping others, have empathy, be thoughtful in your words, and be transparent. Show that you’re a human and vulnerable too. Here are three considerations to show you care as a leader:
Don’t allow your team to develop the perception you have all the answers and have everything figured out. The reality is that no one knows what the next 24 to 48 hours hold, let alone the next six months! Planning is helpful to keep the team focused on progress, but sometimes the best and most truthful answer team members need to hear is, “I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out, together.” This mindset may be difficult for “D” and “C” leadership styles that are action-oriented and thrive on data sharing and decision-making, but they will appreciate your honesty. Sharing your concerns might give a voice to those “I” or “S” style team members who are looking for answers but are feeling lost, apprehensive, or afraid to speak up. Leadership is not about knowing everything; good leaders surround themselves with a network of professionals who possess a wide range of knowledge and experience.
People-oriented leadership styles such as “I” and “S” are naturally wired for connection and will ease into this quickly. For “D” and “C” styles, attempting to connect with team members virtually can initially feel a bit impersonal and uncomfortable, especially when people are working from home; this will require you to step out of your comfort zone. Many may not have home offices to separate work activity from various home-life distractions, such as pets and family members; you may find yourself saying “hello” to a new face or hear the dogs barking at the mailman! It happens, and it is okay. Additionally, some will be uncomfortable logging into virtual meetings or conferences requiring both audio and visual participation. Let the team know in advance you understand the challenges of time and space at home, and offer the opportunity to speak privately about any specific concerns they may have before group sessions. This provides an opportunity to discuss amenable solutions that will set them up for success. Consider reaching out to members outside of scheduled meetings or online events to see how they are doing beyond the workload; they will appreciate the more personal approach.
Just because team members may be working independently from home does not mean personal or professional development must cease. Providing team members with continuous learning opportunities can help develop and hone skills that are needed for them to remain proficient and relevant in today’s virtual work environment. Sending e-mails containing information or resources on best practices while working from home or stress-management techniques can help those who are needing a bit of extra guidance. “D” and “C” style members will appreciate the additional tasks to complete to avoid too much downtime, and “I” and “S” style members will appreciate the learning opportunity and personal consideration. Afford them the flexibility to manage their schedule to determine when they can participate in various opportunities that pertain to their wellbeing or professional development.
Showing you care as a leader does not require much extra time, but taking the time to show you care says a lot to the team. Your members will gain the confidence to thrive through adversity, your teams will build a stronger bond and become stronger despite the distance from the office, and your organization will remain equipped to operate and serve at its best.
How can you show your team you care today?