leadership, empathy, organization communication, we-storytellers

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better”, says Bill Bradley.

The pandemic brings along the most difficult leadership test times, especially when it comes to people management. And, I believe all the leaders out there would nod a yes to that.

May it be the 2008 recession or the 9/11, leaders have exhibited the superpower to cope with exigencies. But, the COVID 19 pandemic brings in challenges the world has never seen before. The fear and ambiguity that has arisen due to uncertainty makes decision-making a big challenge.

How to strike a balance between achieving targets, ensuring productivity, and being influential amidst all chaos is the BIG Question.

“Our assets walk out of the door each evening. We have to make sure that they come back the next morning”, says N.R. Narayana Murthy, Co-founder, Infosys. This very thought emphasizes the importance to manage your manpower who would help you sail through the tough times.

It’s time leaders should prioritize what is truly important in delivering desired results and rethink their Modus Operandi for the future.

Trying to figure out how to maintain the team spirit among your team members amidst virtual work culture in these turbulent times?

These recommendations could be beneficial:

Show Empathy

The other day, late in the evening I heard my phone ringing. It was one of my senior colleagues. The reason why she happened to call me was not to get an update on the work proceeds, neither was it to allot an urgent task. What she said, made me ponder even late after we had hung up. The very reason she phoned me was “Concern”. “You are otherwise very interactive and participative during conversations, but last evening during the team meeting, you sounded a bit different, low.”, said she.

She was right. How she could figure out that, over a virtual meeting is beyond my understanding, but what touched me was her ‘Empathy’. I felt more secure and understood.

Leaders should take that extra effort to make those check-in calls to their team members for ensuring their well-being. The ‘Humane Concern’ helps to build that bond within your team. Support them in these tough times and watch your team flourish.

Fill the Social gap during social distancing

Missing on those coffee breaks and pot luck lunch with your team members? Or the informal conversations during chance encounters in the hallway and cafeteria?

Organize virtual happy hours for your team and help them reinvent the candid moments they have spent during pre-pandemic days. Thanks to the technologically advanced era which makes the remote team-building time possible.

A fifteen-minute virtual coffee break twice a week, a Netflix party, themed virtual lunch, or dinner parties could help your team bond better.

Crosswords, Sudoku and Quiz contests are also few tested ways to refresh your employees and help them take short breaks between work.

Beyond Happy Hours

If you were among those who have incorporated the ‘Virtual Happy Hour Strategy’ in the initial stage of remote working, the idea must have grown stale by now. Not to worry. Think Beyond the Virtual Happy hours to facilitate team- bonding opportunities to maintain positive work culture while working remotely.

A leader from a leading bank shares her experience of conducting ‘Virtual Workout Sessions’ for her team to help them stay fit indoors. Another leader from a reputed IT firm was creative enough to take his team for a ‘Virtual House tour’ wherein he showcased the fresh veggies he grew in his kitchen garden. “A small discussion on how I pursue my passion for organic farming to relax myself post work was exciting for the team”, says he.

I am sure, enough creative ideas have popped in your heads by now to ensure team bonding and spread those positive vibes.

Frequent feedback to enhance team performance

Feedback is considered to be an inducing factor in achieving team goals. Ensure you don’t let the absence of those in-person opportunities to provide feedback, drag down team development in these crucial times.

Try organizing short feedback sessions amidst scheduled meetings or at least a text message now and then to offer your valuable advice or constructive comments to boost team performance.

Manage the Fear

The pandemic has brought in the fear of the unknown. People are dreaded by the consequences of the virus effect as well as the insecurity in the workplace due to increasing lay-offs.

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to make them feel secure and comfortable. Guide them to enhance their performance and productivity.

Maintain transparency and communicate that bad news effectively (if needed) to make it easy to bear.

Effective communication, creating those organic moments in the virtual working times, shouldering responsibilities to reach team goals, and agility in decision-making would help create an everlasting impact in your team’s mind and soul. After all, your human resource is the anchorage to the organization and will help you navigate through these turbulent times.

Ready to rethink your operating modes in the new scenario and be a savvy leader?

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