Leadership during lockdown: a note from our CEO
Last week I was asked by a senior member of my team if I’d answer questions that the team had. I would recommend that you do this. Offer your team an opportunity to ask questions, in our case the questions were compiled and sent to me anonymously. Why? Encourage everyone to participate. Then be honest and transparent.
Below is a summary of the key themes we discussed.
Do we have a plan for when we get back to the office?
How will we protect the team? What about social distancing and hygiene? What if someone wants to go back to the office asap?
We have started to think about this a number of weeks ago. I ran through the thinking with a simple diagram. The reality is that this is complicated and going to be a nightmare. Start making a plan as every company will be different, what applies to Google will be significantly different for us.
Do we plan to ask people to go back to the office?
No. No was the answer until it’s safe to do so. No 2 above makes this decision very difficult and an easy No.
We all in our case need to accept that working from home is now the normal, work at the office (WAO) will be the reverse.
Any decision will be a team decision
Whatever we agree, we will do as a team and we will need to agree guidelines that everyone signs up to. For example: What happens if someone goes away? Should we all keep personal contact (tracing) diary? If you bus or train do you stay home? Complicated questions that all need to be agreed as a team.
What will happen if the lockdown drags into 2021?
A good question and in many ways it will. The reality is that our future and that of any company is tied to their customers position and the economy. Our team is strong, and we need to continue supporting our clients. Everyone needs to look for new opportunities to innovate and improve themselves and the business. We will get through this together.
What about our holidays?
Another good question. I didn’t know. Encourage your team to take time off. The past month with bank holiday weekends and Easter has helped everyone. As the lockdown reduces, we will all have to become creative when planning our days off.
Will we celebrate once this is over?
My learning, you can’t communicate enough. I suggest you do a regular ask me anything session with your team and seek their feedback. Your team are worried, they need certain people to step up and listen to them. Remember what’s worrying them today may be different next week.
Some days we can get frustrated being stuck at home. Everyone is different, some worry, some don’t, some get anxious, some don’t but talking openly and encouraging a group discussion is good for the team and helps just a little bit.
What’s certain about the future, can be summed up by a wonderful quote by Nelson Mandela - “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
Onward – Martin