2020 adjustments our world completely – visitor blogger Linda Kingman
Although we're only halfway through the year, we can expect 2020 to go down in history as a year of tremendous challenges and changes, a year that shook our way of life, our way of working, our family, our business and social relationships, and ours Attitudes to institutions such as healthcare and law enforcement.
The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the death of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis – and the ensuing unrest – will have a lasting impact on people's attitudes, feelings and ways of thinking, as well as their values and beliefs.
As a team leader, our mistake would be to assume that things will return to normal as soon as a COVID-19 vaccine is available and generally available, as soon as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor disappear from our headlines. You won't do it.
Learn from history
I recently attended the Arthur W. Page Society virtual spring seminar. National Grid's Group Corporate Affairs Director Barney Wyld was one of the speakers and said something that was very close to my heart. Barney reminded us of the history of Winston Churchill and the 1945 elections. He talked about how Churchill, after inspiring and leading Britain through World War II, expected to receive thanks from a grateful nation if the elections were only a few months away took place after the end of the war. Instead, Churchill's Conservatives were defeated by Labor. Why? Maybe because Churchill and his party didn't realize that people changed during the war. What they wanted from their government and society after the war was different from what they wanted before the war. This led to permanent social changes such as the rise of the National Health Service, the welfare state and the nationalization of the country's energy, rail and aviation industries – all within three years!
What does that have to do with us as a team leader? Everything.
People are affected differently by what they go through
The people in our teams have almost certainly changed through what they've been through in the past few days, weeks, and months. Many have gotten used to working from home and chatting with zoom all the time, and have little desire to go back to the office. Others felt isolated and can't wait to be in person with their colleagues again. Those who continued to work through COVID-19 may feel like second-class citizens because they do not believe that their safety is a high priority for their companies and that they have not been able to work from home.
People on your team may be infected with COVID-19 or may have lost family members or friends to the disease. They may mourn the loss of social connections or the way their life used to be. They may be saddened by the small business owners whose businesses are affected by the home stay orders, or irritated by what they perceive as a restriction of their personal freedoms.
Team members may be angry or frustrated with ongoing racism in our society and law enforcement response to protesters. Or they are upset with the protesters or those who have committed vandalism.
Today more than ever, we cannot expect that people in their work will not be affected by what is going on in the world around them. And the reality is that we process events like the one we are experiencing differently. One person's sadness is another person's anger. One person may feel conflicted while another is motivated to act decisively.
The seismic events that we've all been through recently have changed us forever.
Help your team get ahead
How can we help our teams process what they went through and move forward? Some thoughts:
- Watch for signs of stress. Are your team members more withdrawn than before? Having trouble completing tasks? Seems sad or angry? Watch your employees closely and do not hesitate to report personally. The question "How are you?" has a new and deeper meaning than six months ago.
- Make sure everyone knows the resources that help them. This is a good time to remind people of the company's employee benefit program, advisory services that can be provided through their insurance and / or community programs.
- Do not assume it. Remember that opinions, attitudes, attitudes and feelings have probably changed. So don't assume that what the people on your team previously thought is still true.
- Do not be afraid of difficult discussions as a team. Many of us tend to avoid conflict. But that can also mean that we avoid the issues that concern people the most. Topics to talk about. Get some tips from your HR team on how to structure and enable a conversation that will respectfully and productively address the difficult issues that we have addressed as individuals and as a society.
- Be flexible and caring. Recognize that individuals are facing challenges and changing differently and need different support. Be as flexible as possible when you meet your team members where they are – whether that means taking the time to talk, supporting a day off to rest, or just getting away to create a different work schedule, so that they can juggle at home, etc. Just showing that you are worried enough to help the individuals on your team find out and get what they need will go a long way.
Hopefully we will all heal from the aftermath of events in the first half of this year. We can help promote healing by caring for others and having an open dialogue to learn from each other. Then our challenge is to translate our learning into measures to permanently change our own corners of the world for the better.
What measures will you take to drive lasting change?
– –Linda Kingman
Linda is a senior vice president of the Grossman Group, where she delivers award-winning, innovative and strategic communications solutions for customers addressing their everyday and defining business challenges. Linda has worked with a variety of clients including American Airlines, AveXis, Dow Chemical, Johnson & Johnson, Hyatt Hotels, Kaiser Permanente, NiSource, Tenneco and others. Linda is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Arthur W. Page Society.
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