Many of us have witnessed substantial change in recent months as a result of the pandemic, and even more during the pandemic so how do you effectively manage your team through this?
For those of you who were employed throughout the epidemic’s beginning and are now having to work from home, it was a major shift in how we operate. As a result, there was an enormous amount of stress for most of us since we don’t enjoy change. We’re creatures of habit that like being very sociable
Management of the team during the pandemic
I ended up with a very disrupted team at the outset of March 2020, and not only were they attempting to keep operations going and momentum going, but they were also forced to work alone, like lone wolves. One of my employees lived alone, she had no home office, and not only did she live alone, but she didn’t have anywhere to work during the day. As a result, nine times out of ten, she found herself sitting in bed all day working from a laptop in uncomfortable postures, this was very difficult to manage.
From a manager’s standpoint, it was important to ensure that she maintained her posture because she wasn’t just working since no one else in the home acknowledged her presence. Another member of the team had a baby during the lockdown, and he was forced to balance his family life with his job.
My first few months were extremely difficult for my staff. Stress was mounting steadily. They were panicking, and as a manager, it was my responsibility to make sure they stayed calm and in flow with everything that needed to be done and accomplished while also driving the company forward because the business had shrunk by 75% overnight, and they weren’t successfully defending their positions.
It was a lot to take on, but eventually, we got into a groove. My staff and I are continuing to adapt and change as the world around us shifts. The pandemic has forced us to be more innovative and to think outside the box when it comes to how we work because the traditional office setting is no longer an option for many of us.
What has leadership looked like for you during these times of change?
How have you had to adapt your style to fit the new landscape?
I’m right there, witnessing it all happen in front of me, and I’m aware that not only do I need to care for my health, but I also have to look after this. We put barriers in place so we can maintain that balance and have the capacity to juggle everything while still managing their stress levels.
That was when everything changed for me, and my leadership style had to pivot from being very hands-on to more of a delegator because I couldn’t be everywhere at once. We completely redirected our approach to ensure that we were working from a stress-free perspective. Not battling for everything, but just moving through the day and looking at what we had to do in the moment so that we could be successful and not feel like we were constantly swimming upstream.
My team was eventually driven back to the office after lockdown, as a sales team must ensure that they bounce off of one another. They need to be in an environment where they can collaborate because that’s how we succeed. It was a big shift for us to get them back into the office, and it took some time for everyone to adjust because the team now were still very gun-shy about leaving their homes.
Unfortunately, I lost both of them because they had gotten so used to working alone that they’d gone from despising working from home to recognising how wonderful it was. They had learned to be great at putting down their tools when things got too tough and then being forced back into a nine-to-five routine where you’re expected to be at your desk by half-past eight, which didn’t sit well with them. I couldn’t do anything as a manager to retain them since I wouldn’t want to impose that on someone who isn’t affiliated with their job. We then experienced additional disruption within my team, because we’ve lost two people in a short amount of time, we had to deal with the recruiting process
We had to manage our stress levels while operating in a high-stress environment. It was extremely difficult as a leader, and the reason I’m telling you this story is because as leaders, that’s precisely what you’re here to do. You’re here to lead your team through the intricacies of what’s going on right now. As well as how you can help and assist them. iIt’s probably one of the most difficult things to do as a manager, and even more so as a leader, to be able to comprehend those new dynamics in the moment and at that very given point.
So how do you understand each of those moments?
You understand the team, and this is where I bring in dynamic leadership because each member has a distinctive personality. They have their own personality that you can sense in one another way through their business, which complements the personality of another colleague who may be a different dynamic personality. So, to be successful at it, you must first grasp each of those personalities and staff members inside and out. You must figure out exactly what their demands and needs are. The second step is to figure out your leadership style.
How do you handle changes in requirements and demands from each team member? It is not simple.
You must develop dynamic leadership and grasp that you may need to flex from one to the other to support each team member, which might be tough as a leader but is even more difficult when it comes to maintaining your own mental health. You are the guide who is drawing them through. So, let’s assume you’re a mid-level manager who has been doing this for some time. You have someone above you telling you what to do, so now you need to figure out how to become a funnel and absorb everything they want to tell you while filtering out what they don’t need to know. Then you send things down the funnel to your team in a way that is cohesive and doesn’t cause any further disruption.
This is where you start to develop what I like to call emotional intelligence for yourself as the leader so that you can understand exactly how much each team member can handle.
The third step is to delegate duties once you’ve collected all of this data. This is when I get so enthusiastic because if you do it correctly, your staff will be able to accomplish anything. They will push forward the business. They will trust you. They will be loyal to you. You foster a sense of community and interaction and dependability because they realise that you have their back since you are not only tossing things at them and demanding that they accomplish it. You get them you understand them. You lead them from a place of balance and harmony and understanding the team but you then also as a leader need to manage that expectation yourself, you need to understand when you can and when you can’t. And that can also be quite a challenge.
Let me give you an example of my staff: we have four people in a tiny office that we share on a business site, and we all use the same toilet and kitchen. We’re on a major road, and there’s a concrete parking lot outside with no lovely place to go. As a result, my team is trapped in that one room for much longer than they would be if they were working from home. They don’t take breaks very often because it’s difficult to get out of the room since we are on a busy road.
So, as their leader and manager, I need to understand that they are under a lot of stress. I need to give them more breaks. I need to be more understanding when they take a break because if I am not, they will start to resent me. And that’s not what we want as leaders. It’d be like a pressure cooker, with all of us in one room, and the energy of stress, and we’re under a lot of stress. I go for a walk in the car park to show others that I am taking myself off, and it’s also an opportunity for me to set an example.
Do I expect them to sit there from eight till six or longer on occasion? No.
Do I expect them to generate top-level work and propel the company forward? Yes.
As a result, they’re able to rest more during the day because I’m not forcing them. They know that they can take time off if they need it, and that as long as they meet my expectations with their performance levels, I’m pleased with their work rates.
Now with a smaller team, it’s much simpler. It gets more difficult when you have a bigger group and I’ve led teams of all sizes. You also need to know what they can and cannot do, moreover, you must know what they are capable of doing and what they are not able to accomplish. Simply demonstrating that you care without being there for them is insufficient.
When you build a foundation of trust by demonstrating that you care about their well-being, your team will astonish. I’ve witnessed tremendous outcomes as a result of this. It’s all about your team. It’s understanding each and every one of them inside and out, back to front, and truly putting a priority on what they want and need. And you do this by putting a lot of effort into understanding your employees on a personal level. The company will see a boost in revenue, since your team will only help to increase it. Instead of having staff attrition, you’ll have employee growth.
This week, I challenge you to simply pay attention to their demands for a change. Listen carefully to who they are and what is going on around you.
If you would like to discuss this more directly with me then please book a call with me HERE