Despite how long we have been living the new COVID normal, burnout and stress aren’t decreasing. Now that the winter months lie ahead, and families are being kept apart due to safety precautions, managers need to be in tune with their teams more than ever. As a leader, you’ve been given a great deal of power and with that power, comes the expectation that you will look out for those you are charged with.
And so, here are the questions you should be asking your team in order to effectively lead them through these turbulent times:
It is important to check in with people and make sure that they are ok. This year has been a lot for most people and just because someone was ok yesterday doesn't mean they will be ok today. Make sure to ask regularly to keep the lines of communication open. For added effectiveness, be sure to tell them how you’re doing. Being open with others is the best way to get them to be open with you.
Working from home has changed the way people think about work and life. We live in our offices and as such, the lines between home and work have blurred. Be sure to encourage people to take off and unplug. Make sure you encourage people to take time off and when they do, leave them alone. We’ve become too accustomed to disturbing people’s holidays and personal lives with arbitrary deadlines.
It may sound obvious, but people actually need to see you practice these behaviors in order to follow them themselves. If you are working 24/7 and you tell your team not to, most of them will do as you do rather than as you say. Practice what you preach and take care of yourself. In addition to being a better leader, you’ll likely find that you are also benefiting from the extra time to blow off steam.
The best leaders care about those that work for them. Get to know your team and learn about their dreams. Then ask yourself how you can support them in achieving their goals. “But isn’t it up to them to plan their careers? No one did that for me.” Sound familiar? If yes, then you probably shouldn't be managing people. A large part of whether or not you are a successful leader is the level of success that those under you achieve. Your job is not to just manage the business, it is to nurture the next wave of leaders.
Feedback makes all of us uneasy, but it's a crucial part of leadership. You have to rid yourself of your insecurities and ask for direct feedback. To become the best leader possible, you have to first learn where you are falling short. Don’t want to do it? Too bad. It’s the only way you will improve your leadership ability and people management skills.
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