Feeling anxious when facing change is described as vital and present in all humans. This response is considered the alarm system of the human organism that detects and reacts to what may be a “threat.” It triggers a feeling of fear because of uncertainty, lack of control, and anticipation of the unknown.
What differs from one person to another is the way we process these reactions and emotions, and that is why employers are noticing an inconsistency. There are different theories about stages that humans often go through when facing change, bad news, and fear. They are most commonly described as starting with shock and denial to eventually reaching a state of acceptance. Yet, we do not all react to change or adopt change the same way or at the same speed. Some of us skip phases while others get stuck in some.
Nevertheless, despite the various reactions, we need to keep in mind that we have the ability to adapt in the face of adversity. Trust the human being, especially when you’re lending a hand.
How Can Leaders Help Reduce Negative Feelings and/or Stabilize Emotions as Best as Possible?
Leaders are all called to step up, now more than ever, and provide a sense of unity and security. How? Remain authentic and create opportunities for employees to express what they’re feeling. Solicit their opinion, invite them to raise points and ideas that you might not be seeing right now. Pair early adopters (the ones that are navigating easier and embracing change quicker) with the ones that are having more trouble – they can help by sharing tips and guiding them through.
Keep employees informed of steps you are taking to manage the situation and take the opportunity to address concerns with the answers or information you have available. When you don’t have an answer, be transparent and let them know that you are working towards getting one. It’s also fine to change the course of your actions at times; as it’s all part of adapting to the situation, just as long as you keep employees informed and updated regularly.
Emphasize Your Core Values
When communicating with your teams, make sure to reinforce your company’s values and mission – they are the essence of your identity. Think about how the measures taken reflect who you are as a company, as a team, and how this will help you move forward constructively together. Your actions must be aligned with your values. This promotes reassurance and maintains the sense of community and belonging.
How to Create a Feeling of Togetherness While Being Apart?
Take Advantage of what Technology has to Offer
Use various platforms and software that provide you with the support you need to complete your managerial work virtually, just like at the office. Technology tools offer space for endless collaboration with your team, project and task management, video conferencing, presentation and training, time management, and beyond.
Opt for Daily Check-Ins and Regular Communication
Keep your team engaged with regular communication. It could be one-on-one or in teams, where you discuss updates, feedback, successes, research; you can re-align tasks if needed and together prepare next meeting’s agenda. Check-ins should be done ideally face-to-face by video to keep human interaction and connection going. The more they see you, the more they will feel connected. On-going communication could be done using different channels and can help prevent the feeling of loneliness and isolation, especially during this pandemic.
Define your Expectations
Make sure you clearly share the scope of work, deadlines and responsibilities with your team and focus more on the outcome instead of a number of hours worked, daily activities, and online presence during traditional core hours. Essentially, avoid micro-managing.
Give Them Flexibility
Trust your team and give them the freedom to get work done on a schedule that helps them be the most productive, all while constructively managing performance.
Keep Traditions Alive
If you use to have Happy Hour on Fridays, keep them going. Technology is not only made for work or to have fun with friends; it can also be used to have fun AT work. Keeping traditions alive will allow your team members to feel part of a much-needed community still.
Provide Training and Coaching
Times of commotion will naturally impact business activities and work climate. Find opportunities to offer your employees the right training and coaching they need, to remain equipped technically and psychologically in their role, as they adapt to a whole new workplace. Several government programs, such as PACME-COVID-19, offer grants to eligible courses and activities.