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Leadership Learning

6 ways to manage anxiety during COVID-19

2 min read

How can we support our staff through these changes?

COVID-19 is causing anxiety at multiple different levels for employees and their challenges must be overcome quickly – how can we support employees through quickly adopting a new digital way of working and transitioning to new operating models? Deal with fears of economic instability and the need to remain lean? Managing the social isolation of teams in these changing times?

Here are some key activities that will support companies as they navigate these uncertain times:

  • Inspiring hope and connection

During times of change and hardship, hope and inspiration is needed to help people on the journey to remember the future state of the change and serving as a reminder that this period of uncertainty won’t last forever. Remember your organisational purpose, your values and inspire hope by connecting staff to your company vision.

  • Give people a voice and a choice

Create ownership and accountability for decisions by enabling employees to be involved in the decision making and drive the right outcome which they have chosen. Practical examples could be daily communication stand-ups or roundtable discussions where employees can put fears forward and actively participate in resolving business challenges.

  • Empathy

“Before you judge somebody, walk a mile in their shoes”, each employee has financial commitments, families to support and their own unique way of dealing with ambiguity and fear. Now more than ever remove judgement, listen and empathise with each person’s fears. Open door policy is needed, now more than ever.

  • Trust and transparency

Be open and honest with your employees re the current outlook and the challenges ahead. Even if the outlook is bleak, be transparent and open about the business challenges – encourage their input on how to resolve the challenges and utilise their creativity and innovation. Build trust by ensuring transparency where possible and create physiological safety at the workplace.

  • Over-communicate

Regular, consistent and inspiring visionary communication is key to keep our employees engaged. We need to consistently communicate messaging via a variety of different channels and provide social connection via video conferencing. Remember to get people to turn on videos so we can see each other (assuming bandwidth permits). Did you know it can take a minimum of 3 times repeating the same message for it to be heard?

  • Build capabilities

Identify the key capability uplift required to prepare people to adopt the new operating model and way of working, digital technical skills are key but also the ability to communicate effectively via digital tools and provide effective leadership to lead a remote team. Remote one on one coaching sessions with leaders is key to help guide clarity and direction during these challenging times

This article originally appeared on Apricot Consulting. 

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