Executive Insider

Managing Teams During a Crisis and Keeping Them Motivated, Happy and Productive

Neal Bloom

As we are all adopting to this new “normal” of life during COVID-19, we are learning new things about ourselves, our employees, and companies. As CEOs, it is even more incumbent to step up and lead our teams during this time.

During a crisis, everybody looks to a leader for the next step or for reassurance. By leading with compassion, confidence and calmness, you can help keep your employees calm and productive during uncertain times. For me, I have tried to be even more available for my virtual team during the ongoing pandemic that we are all experiencing and dealing with differently.

I’d like to share some more leadership attributes to flex during this dynamic time and actions to take with your team to continue through the crisis.

Be available. Your time is being stretched and stressed further – from a new work environment, new routines, and outside-influenced stress from the negativity going on with this virus. First, acknowledge this, and then understand how each team member deals with/handles this. Some may need space, some may need more hand holding, and that’s OK. If you have weekly one-on-ones, offer them up more often as quick check ins. If you use an online chat tool, like Slack, ask check in questions, like “how’s everyone’s morning?” Set aside time in your schedule for being more available l, like having an open-door policy door so people can virtually “stop by.” Also make sure everyone knows that their personal life priorities will take priority over work and that you are OK with this. This is when you lean on being the empathetic boss.

Be transparent and have a plan. Every day is becoming a new unknown of what the future holds. We are living under new rules and guidance, which is stressful in itself. Tell the team constantly what you are thinking for the company so there is consistency from leadership. Over-communicating is a plus here. The plan can change, but employees will at least know you are thinking about them. This should come from a place of confidence and reassurance. This is also a time to assess your business’s resilience and long-term plans. Do you have cash and other resources on hand to last a longer period than normal?

 

Offer support. Your team may have high risk family members or other needs. You may even have to let employees go. Offer resources by sharing links, articles and connections. Going out of your way will go a long way for your employees, especially in these stressful times.

Keep morale up. Be the generator of “positive” even in these tough and depressing times. Share positives, as small or as big as necessary, that are going on in your life, at home. Be human. If your team listens to music on their own, offer a shared Spotify playlist that everyone can add their own music to and can listen to each other’s music. Show what you are making for lunch or a photo out your window so others can see how you are handling being cooped up. If your employees eat lunch together, offer for everyone to eat lunch together over a video call or a virtual happy hour if that’s part of the culture.

We as humans are all in this together and bringing your own company together over this will help lower stress levels for everyone. As a leader, your employees will look to you as a guide regardless if you act like one. Step up, stay healthy, and stay active (safely of course). We will all get through this.


Written by Neal Bloom. Have you read?

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Neal Bloom
Neal Bloom is a serial entrepreneur, with multiple software exits, angel investor, and startup community evangelist. He is chairman of Startup San Diego, a nonprofit accelerating the startup community; and Founder of Fresh Brewed Tech, a media platform spotlighting San Diego's thriving tech scene. Neal Bloom is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow Neal on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.