Supporting your team through a crisis is not only a difficult task but an obligation as an employer. Although the events around COVID-19 has brought much uncertainty, leading your team through the storm will reap valuable benefits when it's all said and done. Here we'll provide you with some guidance on how to keep your team's morale high through difficult times.
Clearly articulate the challenges your business faces to your employees. People don't like being lied to, particularly in hard times, and sugar coating anything will only lead to worse ramifications. As the boss, keeping your credibility across your team is a priority. You can recover from mistakes here and there, but you can never recover from lost credibility. It's still okay to offer a glimmer of hope to your team. Be sure to tell them that even though the road will be windy, the destination will be worth it. Present your team with a challenge to overcome and likely this will inspire them to buckle up and hit the road with you.
Everyone is looking for direction during a crisis. Being the first one in and last to leave sets an example everyone is looking to latch onto. Don't be afraid to spend extra time motivating the team and calming nerves. It may feel like half of you're turning into a psychiatrist, but these experiences will pay dividends over time.
Going through a tough time will naturally generate highs and lows but can also bring teams together throughout the journey. Don't overlook the fire your employees are going through and celebrate from time to time if it's feasible for your business. This doesn't mean to mask negativity or hardships with a bowl of candy, but rather, be honest and show your team how much you value their work through a difficult time.
Honest communication is one of the most valuable traits for an employer to have during a time of crises. That doesn't mean you should only be focused on breaking bad news to your team. Set up 1 on 1 meetings with your employees and chat about what's going on in their lives as well as yours. Taking time away from work related banter and enjoying a casual conversation with an employee will invigorate the spirit of everyone involved. This can be practiced amongst team members as well. Encouraging positive communication from top to bottom is key.
Every environment will call for different strategies when unforeseen obstacles arise. As the leader of your workforce, trust yourself to use this guidance in your own way. You got to where you are for a reason. Keep challenging yourself to take on a larger role in people's lives and live with the results that come with it.