Your team has been disrupted, your typical lines of communication broken, your office spaces emptied, and still you and your company need to produce. Being nimble during COVID-19 and successfully pivoting to address the changes that come with quarantine requires authentic leadership and a genuine recognition of the value each person you employ brings to your company.
One of the ways to demonstrate this and connect with your troops beyond just tasking them via email is to offer some assistance that touches them personally. Smart money tips, especially if you have teammates who are suddenly earning less compensation, are a great way to make a positive impact on the loyal employees who make your organization successful. Here’s five of them that come from my upcoming book, The Prepared Investor: How To Prevent The Next Crisis From Affecting Your Financial Independence.
Tip 1: Live beneath your means. If you can avoid spending money and tightening up the budget, now is the time to do it. If you are not making the same amount you’re used to, then this is especially important. Your compensation has changed, so try to change your lifestyle to temporarily stay within it. If you just can’t tighten enough, then this is the time to use your emergency savings. You want to have three months of expenses saved up and ready to use in the event something like this happens. When we get through this, and we will, make sure that nothing comes between you and building your emergency savings back up to three months of expenses.
Tip 2: Remain calm and thoughtful to avoid emotional mistakes. People react to crisis and deal with crisis in different ways. Have you found that you are binge-watching Netflix or staying up late and not setting an alarm in the morning? This is a kind of coping that isn’t helpful. Part of staying calm means being thoughtful about your routine and how you spend your time. Set daily goals and use your extra time to learn new skills. Tiger King will be there after the crisis is over, but this amazing gift of time and internet access shouldn’t be squandered. Ultimately, you could use quarantine as a skipping stone to jump ahead of your peers and be a more compelling candidate for promotion when COVID-19 is just another historical episode in the rear-view mirror.
Tip 3: Seek privacy to keep your options open. Are you spending time on social media proclaiming to the world how you feel politically? Are you sharing pictures or videos while in quarantine that, maybe later, you’d rather were not out on the internet? Maintain your sense of polite privacy because tomorrow’s company leaders are being made today, during quarantine. You want to be one of them. Part of getting that next promotion, or perhaps just making sure you get back to a job, could hinge on what people see you doing (or not doing) on Facebook or Twitter.
Tip 4: Make, and regularly update, your list of influential leaders. If all you’re hearing is some Hollywood actor’s thoughts on looking good and staying fit, then you are missing an opportunity to broaden your mind and make yourself a more valuable teammate. Instead of using social media to share photos of your dessert, you can use it to network with people in the company so that you come out of quarantine better connected than when you went in. You can follow important community and world leaders so that you’re aware of the national conversation in a meaningful way beyond the flashy headlines. You will find yourself a lot more magnetic to your next pay raise if you’re easily recognized as someone who knows and is connected with the right people.
Tip 5: Find a coach for the two parts of your financial life. During quarantine, you can research and connect with someone who can be a valuable guide for your personal finances. If you already have a Financial Advisor, reach out and ask about their plans to actively navigate these difficult times so that your goals are not affected by this disaster. That takes care of the investments you have and the other part of your financial life is how you earn money to save into those investment account. Reach out and connect with a few people who might be willing to be a professional mentor and accountability partner. Set up a schedule to formally share with them your personal and professional expectations of yourself so that they can provide feedback and help you correct your trajectory. The best mentors are the ones who have done what you seek to accomplish.
When you share these tips with your teammates, perhaps you could attach an org chart showing where everyone is in the company to help them make decisions about who to connect with or reach out to for interaction. If you use quarantine to flatten your internal hierarchy and help lift people both professionally and financially, you might find your team returns to work even more connected and effective than before COVID-19 struck.
Written by Christopher R. Manske, CFP® . Have you read?
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