As I reflect on my previous role as a Microsoft Global HR leader. I have been wondering how I would have navigated a similar moment in history and what challenges I would have faced in that role. What support could I offer my teams as an HR leader and as a business leader as we enter an unprecedented period of uncertainty and upheaval?
Over 80% of the U.S. is being asked to stay at home and some countries, like Italy, are in 100% lock-down. I want to pay my respects and gratitude to people working in essential roles, especially the medical teams on the front lines of support for COVID-19 patients.
Since so many are working from home, I have received dozens of emails about virtual meetings and information on how to use technology to support people during crisis. A range of technologies help us communicate when we are physically distanced; however, we need to ensure that our people feel supported through genuine human connection.
What conversations are you having that connect personally to each of your employees at this time? How do you show you care?
We must reach out with compassion and empathy. How do you empathize and “step outside your emotions to view something from the perspective of the other person”? To help you gain a wider perspective on what your teams are feeling and experiencing, consider the following questions/tactics:
- Reach out to listen with empathy about what is going on in their lives at this moment and how can you provide support
- Ask them what transitions are they going through personally and how can you support them through this. Some people will be feeling a sense of grief from intense change.
- Let them know we are all in this together and you don’t have all the answers
- Ensure they feel empowered and trusted to take care of their work and schedules
- Engage them in conversations, creating the space to come up with innovative ideas
- Ask how you can help them move forward through uncertainty
- Ask how you can set up a great virtual environment, and provide them with some best practices?
- Be transparent about the work situation and what you know and don’t know
In the past few weeks, I have read and spoke to a few leaders who are doing great things to support their people. Others have not yet taking action. Where do you stand?
Some leaders are intentional in their support and some are innovative, offering virtual beer afternoons, coffee breaks online, mental health breaks, mindfulness classes, book clubs from home, reach-outs to help others in need, and many more great ideas.
I would love to hear from you if you would like to share what are you doing to support your people and what innovative ideas are emerging in your world.
To help you facilitate support for your teams, we offer a virtual workshop and webinar.
“Leading in Times of Anxiety and Uncertainty Virtual Workshop”
- Helping my myself to help others: Using Emotional Intelligence tools to understand what is happening to me in times of uncertainty.
- Empathy and Conversations that build connections : How I can understand what others are feeling and experiencing. How I can create conversations that build trust and strengthen relationships
- Supporting my people through turbulent times: Practical exercises and frameworks that I can use to support myself and my teams
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org