In Times Of Crises “Heart Leadership”
Is Key To Keeping Employees Engaged

By: Mona Mitchell


Diversity and Inclusion

As employers have been quickly adapting to avoid the community spread of COVID-19, Gallup conducted a survey between March 2 to March 13 with team members across the US asking what the impact of COVID-19 will have on the workplace? The survey results stated that 50% of respondents said that COVID-19 will have a negative effect on their company or workplace -- either very (18%) or somewhat negative (32%) -- while 50% say it will not negatively affect their workplace.

This does not sound promising (and in fact may be underestimating the effects) and this can impact the culture of the organization. And in my experience, 60% of culture is impacted by the behaviour and actions of leaders especially during times of stress or crises.

In times of crises facilitative leadership or what I call Heart Leadership is the most important
aspect of leadership that must show up. People are waiting and observing all the actions,
words, and levers leaders use to calm their teams, communicate with authenticity and calm the
masses. This crisis is evolving constantly and as leaders we must stay on top of it all. The buzz
that is out there does not help to calm your team members.

So, what do you do? Here are some suggestions:

1. Create an information rich environment … Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
2. Role model the desired behaviours and be consistent.
3. Stay visible, accessible and involved.
4. Stay focused on the future while maintaining the day to day.
5. Coach – help others to move forward.
6. Keep employees engaged, motivated and accountable.
7. Find small or big successes and share them.
8. Show vulnerability and compassion.

As you noticed I put Communication as number one on this list. There is a communication structure that we often use that supports your communication in such a way that you will gain the commitment of your team members as you continue to be iterative in the decision around
this crisis:

What do your team members need to “Know”?

  • What will be happening?
  • Who will be doing what?
  • When?
  • Changes in Plan or Direction

What do your team members need to “Understand”?

  • How will these actions impact them?
  • How can they support these actions?
  • What will be expected of them?

What do your team members need to “Believe”?

  • That the decisions and actions communicated are important to the current strategy of the organization.
  • That it is well thought out and it is not only about the work but also about the people.

And finally, what do you expect from them? How do you want your team members to “Act”?

  • What do you need from them to support you and the organization as you go through these tough times?
  • What is your expectation from them?

This model will help inform your team members to understand the “why” behind all your actions and decisions. Resulting in employees staying committed to support you and the organization throughout these challenging times.

Heart leadership may change the minds and hearts of those 50% of respondents who said COVID-19 will have a negative effect on their company or workplace.

Stay safe and healthy and stay tuned for more insights on the other 7 suggestions on the list.

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