Lack of clarity and uncertainty contribute to employee stress. This is why clear and consistent communication is critical to your relationship. Communication builds trust.
You and your employees are facing some of the biggest challenges to date. Challenges have the ability to bring people closer together or tear them apart. How will you navigate this time together?
Anytime there is uncertainty it is easy for doubt and fear to creep in. As a leader, you want to be aware of your own fears. It’s important to manage your fears so they don’t have a negative impact on your decisions and communication. You also have the responsibility of not adding fuel to your employee’s fears.
What are you uncertain about?
Make a list and then decide if it is within your ability to change or control it.
- Your well-being; health, mental, emotional
- Your personal finances
- Your business’s financial sustainability, debt, overhead expenses, revenue
- Your team’s well-being; morale, health, personal adjustments
- Your team working remotely; performance; productivity
- Economy; market, consumer confidence
- COVID-19; impact on business; changing regulations
If you can’t change it, then let it go. If you can change it, then create a plan for how to address it. How you choose to respond is critical in leading your business and team.
What is your team uncertain about?
Schedule time to meet with them either as a group or individually. Make a list of their concerns.
- Well-being of self and family
- Job stability of self and significant other
- Child care
- Benefits; paid leave, sick days, health insurance
- WFH; desk space, internet connection, cell phone
Your job is not to have an answer for everything, but to listen. If you have an answer then you can address it then. If you don’t have an answer, then make a note and follow-up with them. Not having an answer doesn’t make you weak or less of a leader. It’s not possible for you to know your employee’s concerns and fears. However, creating the space for them to share allows you to address them head-on instead of letting them fester with assumptions and wrong information.
When talking with your team, ask for their input on creating solutions. Their unique perspective will allow you to understand what is important to them. It will also shine a light on details we can overlook when making bigger decisions. Plus, having your team help in creating a solution helps build unity.
This is new territory for everyone. Which means what worked before may not work under these current circumstances. How can you help your team transition with ease? Micromanaging and continuous virtual meetings are not productive. How can you provide extra grace and understanding while they manage their household?
Yes, you’re only responsible for them as an employee. However, when you see them as a mother, daughter, wife, father, son, husband and empathize with their challenges then you can work better together. When your team trusts you have their back then they perform better and will go to bat for you.
What would you recommend to help reduce team member’s stress?