What Leaders Should Do To Tackle The Pandemic


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Before 11th March, the day when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, corporate leaders were just staying tuned to coronavirus updates and stock market volatility. However, post that, when the government started issuing lockdown, companies mandated teleworking and there was a shift in priorities.

Since the pandemic led to a meltdown of the financial market and geopolitical tensions, it has put forth extraordinary challenges for leaders. The global unrest has caused tremendous stress amongst employees and they look up to their supervisors for consolation in these grim times.

The MERS and SARS pandemic that shook the world before was tackled by leaders who possess the fortitude to manage such a crisis. The only difference is that this generation is blessed with advanced collaborative tools to manage remote work in a breeze. Hence decision-makers from today can learn from the learned and help their workforce cope with the stress.

Here’s what you can do to jointly fight this battle:

1. Support them emotionally and mentally

A sudden transition in work culture disrupted everyone’s lifestyle. Employees who are parents are juggling between parenting and work due to the closure of daycares, while others are struggling to get the essentials due to areas being sealed and the list goes on! Thus, this crisis has caused emotional and mental distractions amongst employees stunting their productivity levels. Keeping this disruption in mind, leaders need to ensure their employee’s wellbeing.

A connection over a correction mindset is what leaders need to motivate their employees. At the same time, a leader should know when to push and when to empathize. A business in this crisis cannot afford to get hindered. Striking the perfect balance between “getting tasks done” and operating business as usual subject to work and emotional stress is the biggest challenge leaders need to tackle.

2. Define reality, provide hope

The workforce is overwhelmed with the uncertainties and unrest. They fail to anticipate the consequences and expect answers from no one else but their employers. Their anxieties and concerns need to be addressed for them to stay focused on work. And most importantly, your talent pool seeks reality and not sugar-coated lies. Hence, aim for an honest, consistent and adaptive communication with them.

Convey with utmost transparency what you know and what you anticipate in the near future. Only then can your employees plan their work accordingly. You can tell them what they want to hear, but they are far more likely to respect a clear and truthful communication. Set expectations straight and weigh your message accordingly to provide hope without ambiguity.

3. Keep a cool exterior

Leaders are overwhelmed with the ongoing outbreak too. The stress to keep the business afloat when the global economy is crashing and managing the entire workforce remotely at the same time is a lot to comprehend. After all, they are humans too! However, since their employees are looking up to them, they are required to project calm and assuredness to them.

To keep yourself sane during these turbulent days, you can follow certain practices to stay calm and composed. Yoga and meditation will help you channelize your thoughts and will help you boost productivity. maintaining a daily routine along with these healthy habits will keep you organized and help you prioritize tasks for the day. Only when you are emotionally and mentally fit, can you stay calm and build confidence in your employees.

4. Handle team conflicts

Teamwork is the key to get through tough times. However, the sudden transition to remote working has redoubled coordination efforts across distributed teams in different time zones, making it tedious for managers to be in the thick of the action. Silos in communication and the lack of interaction can lead to differences in opinions which, if left unresolved can further lead to conflicts. Employees who are left to stew are far more unproductive, which delays reaching goals.

Hence, managers need to resolve their issues and bring the team members on the same page. Conducting one on one sessions with each member will help you understand their concerns better and direct them in one direction. At the same time, leveraging technology and organizing team meetings using collaborative tools will facilitate effective team collaboration and enable you to reach a middle ground. This will also enhance employee engagement as their voices will be valued and taken into consideration.

5. Organize structured daily check-ins

Since you are away from your conventional workplace, keeping a tab on employees’ schedule and their task progress is difficult. You don’t want to come across as a micromanager but still ensure everyone gets work done. Not only that, conveying high priority tasks becomes difficult in the absence of a definite system. To overcome this, leaders should conduct daily check-ins where they can state their daily targets and goals with clarity. Employees will be able to prioritize their tasks better.

To make it even more convenient, employers can switch to modern and sophisticated tools to allocate tasks to employees on a centralized system. They can track their progress and understand their availability for future projects at ease. This will enhance their work rate and will help you streamline projects and manage employees in a breeze. Tools to manage remote workers are the only way to keep you connected and informed during this isolation.

The takeaway

The globe needs leaders to step up during this crisis. Leadership reputations are either built or lost during such grim times. Hence, gear up and manage your remote teams efficiently to get through these unprecedented times together. You are the sole source of consolation for employees and they constantly look up to you to reduce their anxiety. Meet your employees where they are, understand them and help them grow professionally to make the most of lockdown. Doing so will help you establish the sustained motivation for your team. In the end, leadership is both the privilege and responsibilities you choose to adopt.

Aakash Gupta
Aakash is the Principal Business Consultant for Saviom Software. He is proficient in the best practices concerning workforce efficiency and project resource management. He has several publications on the subject to his credit.


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