First, Happy New Year! I hope you had a Merry Christmas and some time off to relax over the past couple of weeks. The holidays were different this year, keeping up with the theme of 2020. The good news is we have a light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against Covid-19, with vaccine being distributed around the world. It’ll take some time, but we’ll get there.
A year ago, no one would have dreamt of the leadership challenges that the year would bring. For the first several months of the pandemic, it was a matter of doing things on the fly. That may have meant adapting to a workforce that was working largely from home, and/or necessitated a move to switching your business model or way of doing things, quite literally overnight. We know that although things will get back to “normal” – hopefully sometime this year – it will probably be a new version of normal. As such, you will likely continue to see changes to your business operations. Needless to say, the wild ride of the past several months will likely continue (at least to some degree) through 2021. Good leadership is that much more important in times like these, making it critical to guide your employees through the rough waters. If your organization moved to primarily remote operations, a significant decision will center on the future of this mode. That is, will employees continue to work remotely, or will they move back on-site? Or will you have a hybrid model of partially working remotely and partially on-site? Will you give employees the choice of where they want to work? Regardless of how this will look moving forward, it’s paramount that you communicate with employees frequently. And when you make decisions, be open with employees about your thought process. Even at times when you don’t have much of an update or a lot of information to share, let employees know this – just hearing from you will be appreciated. Being open and transparent with your employees will help to reduce the anxiety that they are feeling when there are so many unknowns out there. Keeping calm and being in control of situations – even when that may not be how you are feeling on the inside! – will enable your employees to feel more confident and relaxed. Of course, this will lead to higher morale and will allow your staff to focus on what you hired them to do.
Along with the unfortunate health challenges that Covid-19 has created, the virus has had a domino effect on our personal and professional lives. Being a leader can be rewarding in so many ways, but can also be difficult, even in the best of times. The way in which you lead during uncertain times can be the difference-maker in how successful your organization is. Take the time to connect with your employees often and keep them in the loop on decisions that will impact them. Best of luck as you maneuver through a new year!