COVID-19 is making headlines across the globe. Social distancing has been imposed in countries around the world and employees are hunkering down to work from home. Many times with nothing more than a laptop they are trying to keep the ball rolling. How can team leaders and team members make the most out of these challenging times?
Invest in yourself and your team
In an ideal case scenario you would have invested in your personal growth long before COVID-19 spread around the globe. You would be well aware of what you are trying to achieve as a team, what each of you bring to the team, your individual pitfalls, how to bring up difficult issues and have healthy, fiery discussions with each other for the benefit of the team. To paraphrase Radical Candor by Kim Scott, you’d all be caring personally about what you are doing, the team, the project, and would challenge each other directly when something is not going right or could be further improved.
And you’d face the upcoming period in the knowledge and trust that your team will only grow stronger through adversity.
But like many of us mere mortals you might not be as well prepared. You may wonder how you can close the now potentially very obvious gaps in communication, alignment, engagement and connection sooner rather than later.
It’s never too late
Shifting into interdepence is possible at any point in time. And even more so during challenging times like these, where everything you learn can be applied and tested under the most volatile circumstances.
Here’s how you can get started on improving your team’s performance one day at a time:
1. Agree the ideal outcome and specific goals for this period
Schedule a meeting to discuss where you are now and where you want to be when the pandemic is over. How can you grow as individuals and teams?
2. Utilise your team’s strengths and wider synergies
Discuss as a team what energises and what weakens you individually. In this video for Lean In, Marcus Buckingham describes a strength as an activity that strengthens/ energises you, whereas a weakness is an activity that weakens you. Working from our strengths connects us to our talent and our intrinsic motivation, which does not only benefit ourselves but the team and the organisation. We end up more engaged, productive and content if we’re working from our strengths.
Agree on how you will make use of these strengths and synergies within the team and the wider organisation to survive and prosper during these times. What else do you need to focus, stay sane and get back to work most efficiently? Share and measure within the team.
3. Replace negativity with wise concentration and wise mindfulness
Discover how your mind works. Investigate if it helps you to see the opportunity in all instances or instead judges yourself, others and the circumstances. Do you get triggered into negativity and react from a place of fear, or can you stay in a healthy detached state, objectively observing what needs to be done with a clear mind.
Investigate your mood. Are you bringing curiosity, compassion, drive, creativity and positivity to work? Or are you coming from a place of lack, fear, guilt, shame and negativity? If it is the latter start practicing how to switch out of the “monkey mind” into a more open and positive mode. This can be done with the help of mindfulness or PQ Reps as outlined on the Positive Intelligence website by Shirzad Chamine. Help your team do the same.
4. Introduce clear communication guidelines
Replace gossip, rumours, and lack of transparency with direct feedback, clear communication and trust. Make it clear that the onus is on each individual to bring up questions, ideas, challenges and concerns themselves. These times are already tough enough without having to read each other’s intentions, tonality and/or body language.
5. Appreciate & Celebrate
Take a moment out of each week to celebrate successes, milestones and achievements. Including both tasks and relationship building endeavours. The former will keep the company going, the latter, you and your colleagues.
As mentioned, it’s never too late to start focussing on the building blocks of a healthy interdependent team. On the contrary, as a team you can use these challenging times to fuel the growth of yourself and your team. And one day you might look back on these days as a gift.
How will your team get through this time better and stronger? Share with us! We can do this. Together.
Manuela Damant | Azkua Coach