Show your True Colours
Bijgewerkt: 30 mrt 2020
These times are unseen, uncertain and scary for every individual and every organization. We are faced with a challenge we couldn’t forecast in our budget or couldn’t foresee in our business plan. So, we just follow up, day by day, hour by hour, trying to maintain some business focus throughout a time in which family is indisputably our main priority.
As a company we are now stretched to the maximum to search for ways to keep motivating our employees to do the business critical and in the meantime have attention for the need for a human touch and empathy. All individuals are now thrown back to the basic levels of Maslow’s Pyramid of physiological needs (food and for whatever reason apparently, also toilet paper in substantial amounts) and safety (health, personal security, employment). As business leaders it is our first and foremost task to support and facilitate people in these needs.
It is in times like these though, that company values really come to life or die a sudden death. As an organization it is crucial to now rethink what these values mean in times of crisis and fear. It is one thing to talk about team spirit, respect, ownership, innovation, etc. in good times - giving these values meaning in times of crisis, is a completely different story.
Here are some tips to keep the company culture vibrant:
- Keep on communicating!
When our basic needs for food and safety are met, we have a deep craving for love and a feeling of belonging. With only our family members in sight (and let’s be honest, after quite some time they can become a source of irritation as well), staying in touch with the outside world is crucial. We long for contact, humor and shared experiences. As a leader, set up channels to keep in touch, to share company news, schedule meetings but also to replace the coffee machine talks.
- Really listen to your collaborators
They are scared, they might panic. Make sure you take your time to listen, to ask them what they need to keep on performing and to let them ventilate their worries.
You too are now faced with an unknown situation. By active listening and brainstorming together your leadership skills get the chance to grow as well. After a couple of weeks, when we take up the normal work rhythm, people will be tired and numb. This isn’t a holiday situation. Make sure, even then, to keep in touch with how they manage. Realistically work force will be reduced, so stress levels on remaining employees will be high. An empathic leader will get further than an emotionally blind manager.
- Talk about opportunities
We all face the challenges together. We know the situation will be difficult for quite some time. “It is outside your comfort zone where the magic happens”: let’s all see what magic this situation might bring. Challenge each other in seeing the opportunities in how we work today, how we will work tomorrow and what this means for the future of our economy and way of working.
And first and foremost, don’t try to control all the elements you just can’t control. Go with the flow now. We are in this together.