People will Remember How You Treated Them During COVID-19

A friend of mine got laid off last Friday. Clients in education are developing three plans for the fall of 2020, but most of their work could be irrelevant. Other clients are figuring out how to bring people back to the office.

People will remember how you treated them during COVID-19.

Leading people through stress:

Leadership opportunity is about the people.

#1. Stay connected to laid off people.

It might feel awkward but call your laid off people once a week.

  1. How are you doing?
  2. How’s the family?
  3. What can I do for you?

Send an email newsletter that keeps laid off people in the loop. Include pictures, business updates, and stories.

Create a team within your organization that cares for laid off people.

#2. Remind people of past strength and grit.

Provide time to discuss strategies used when facing challenges in the past. Ask team members some of the following questions.

  1. What challenges have you worked through in the past?
  2. How did you persist?
  3. What did you learn?
  4. What’s different about you because you worked through past adversity?
  5. How might we be better people because we worked through current stresses?
  6. What will be different about you as a person when this is over?

Leading through uncertainty is leading with forward-facing kindness.

#3. Realize that long-term uncertainty increases stress.

What might you do to mitigate stress?

  1. Acknowledge stress. Don’t sweep it under the rug. You’re stressed and so is your team.
  2. Include staff in leading short stress-management activities. Someone on your staff works-out at their desk. Perhaps leading a short “home office” workout on zoom might help.
  3. Remember the good ole days – nostaligize. Surprisingly, talking about the good ole days strengthens connection and lowers stress.

Tip: You might limit your time watching rating mongers on cable news.

Leadership is all about people, now more than ever.

How might leaders navigate the nagging stress caused by persistent uncertainty, both for their team members and themselves?

Bonus material:

Wolfgang Puck on Leading His Restaurants Through the Pandemic (HBS)

Leading Through a Crisis (PSA)

Stress Management for Leaders Responding to a Crisis (APA)