Uncertainty, freak out, sadness, new roles, new rules, all happening at work now in the COVID-era. What should managers and leaders do?
Emotional Intelligence requires addressing the moment head-on with a deft understanding of the unique feelings that this era elicits.
One powerful and meaningful action managers and leaders can take is to facilitate conversations structured around the following questions.
*Good meeting hygiene applies–set a limited time, articulate your focus or intention, and make space for everyone.
**Additionally, empathic leadership can be as simple as earnest listening and voicing that everyone’s experience is legit.
Questions for your meeting on being professionals in COVID-times:
- In work or other parts of life, what is something that you do that feels enriching or light-hearted?
- What are some effective or helpful ways you’ve found to delineate work time and work space if you are working from home?
- In your work, what are some new or different expectations you have that you think are appropriate right now given the pandemic?
- What are the values of this company and which ones are most important at the moment? What are your personal work values?
- What is helpful to remind yourself these days?
- What are self-care routines or activities that nourish and support you as a professional in your work?
- What’s most important to you about getting through this tough time?
- Do you feel it is OK for you to speak up, voice personal concerns, or take a day off if you need it? How about others, is it OK for them?
- How can you communicate these sorts of things with your customers and colleagues?
- Where do you go for warmth and certainty in these trying times?
- Bonus: What’s something you’re proud of recently?
These questions could be put in an email, a survey, or used to start meetings or in break out discussions.
- Good team building is culture nurturing.
- The leader’s mood should be positive, calm, and understanding.
- The meeting should be open, comfortable, and kind.
- Remember the mantra “Make space, take space” — that is, to make time and space for everyone and encourage each individual to assert themselves and take time and space (particularly with those who might ordinarily be reluctant to “take space” for themselves.)
- Leaders should answer these questions, too.
Of course, many companies have so much more to do to adjust to these times than just ask a series of questions. But these conversations show emotional intelligence, are good for mental health, and, if done well, will elevate performance.