We recently checked in with some of our senior clients and heard a variation of the phrase, “The crisis is over.” But after speaking with our users in middle management and on the frontlines of organizations, different experiences were left behind, far from it.
Our recent data shows a significant minority of non-executive employees are still struggling as they deal with the ongoing effects of the pandemic:
So why, then, did we find the phrase “The crisis is over” popular amongst our senior clients? It’s being used as a buzz statement about the economic outlook for a given company.
What doesn’t follow this statement are the urgent consequences of people being left behind, and the realization that those on your team could be caught up in this very mix.
Left unchecked, you could be facing decreased productivity for months on end, a culture of mental health challenges and your high performers jumping ship. For the sake of your team, you need to know why and how to look back to make things right.
Calling the peak of the pandemic over is rooted in the view that even if the outlook is bleak, it’s much less uncertain than it was before. Here executives have planned appropriately, so things are generally more stable. With growth prospects ahead, why would the future not be bright, right? Wrong.
As more executives are announcing the end of the crisis with their company's future on the up and up, we spoke to middle managers and frontline staff where this clearly isn't the case. The disconnect between higher ups and their workform is clear:
While senior leadership may be right about macroeconomic conditions on the horizon, everything isn’t okay. What’s critical for great leaders is the need to turn around and see that the very people at the heart of their organization may still be operating in adverse conditions.
For your teammates finding it difficult under these circumstances, look for signs early on and be the colleague who they feel safe to open up to. Offering a listening ear, a more flexible schedule, extra vacation if possible, or more coaching and resources is a great place to start.
They say hindsight is 20/20. But the sign of a strong leader is looking back now to support and protect a company’s greatest assets - their people.
And if you’re an executive sitting in your home office excited about the positive macroeconomic outlook, remember that the people who’ll get you there may not be seeing things the same way you are. Make sure to pause and turn around before claiming a crisis is truly over.
Professional instinct has conditioned us to avoid conflict with the age old saying “It’s bad for business.” Fast forward to today’s world of work and we’ll be the first to tell you that difference is what’s fueling outperforming teams. To lead your team in this direction, you’ll need to keep tension at the centre of your strategy.
Remote work is hindering your ability to offer constructive feedback even though you’ve built social license to be candid with your team. Team outings and workplace comradery are no longer at play when it comes to effectively delivering critical comments. Alas, your feedback is being hidden behind screens with nowhere to go.
From retros to 1 on 1s, your ability to give feedback is what makes you a good leader. But simply giving constructive feedback often isn’t what’s going to help you effectively lead and improve team performance. If you think it’s about how often you coach, mentor, advise or opine, think again.