Leading Teams in a COVID-19 World - Continue to adapt

Working through a pandemic is a new experience for all organizations, and for all employees and managers. The coronavirus itself is an unpredictable player in the plans being made by governments and organizations, as are the economic effects of those responses. You see that in the changing recommendations from public health experts and government leaders. You probably see it in the changing directives from your organization’s leaders. On a smaller scale, you too, as a manager will need to continually adjust how you and your team work together and what the priorities for your work should be.

Pay attention to what’s working well and what isn’t as you work together in different ways. Just as government leaders are paying attention to the pandemic data as they make decisions, you should pay attention to the data on your team. Watch what is going on with your team, and ask them questions to constantly take the pulse of their productivity and emotional states:

  • Are certain types of work more productively done from home or in the workplace?
  • How has the response to the pandemic shifted workloads on the team? And, are they fairly distributed?
  • Has cross-training been helpful? And, are there opportunities to do more of that?
  • How are employees handling changes in work hours that may be required for physical distancing in the workplace?
  • Do you have any long-term, virtual workers on the team who could share best practices for communication?
  • When you have had a particularly good or bad meeting, what went right or wrong? What can you learn from that for future meetings?
  • If members of your team are showing signs of stress or worrisome emotional reactions, what can you do to steer them to help? Is there anything about the work that you could change to help them?
  • How has collaborative work been affected when working within the team and with other departments? How might you need to intercede to improve workflow and timelines?

Based on what you observe and hear from your people, continue to adjust the ways you work together. Be open to creative ideas for working in different ways and addressing new customer needs.