Leadership during a crisis: Communicating with, reassuring and supporting employees

The routines of our daily lives have changed rapidly all over the world, including where we work, how we work, and how we provide (and access) services. As leaders in your organization, you have had to quickly pivot your services – in many cases without much experience, support, or capacity to do so. man having staff meeting remotely Many of you have moved from having staff interact daily in a shared office or workspace to working remotely from their homes, having staff who formerly met face-to-face with clients now figuring out how to replicate those interactions online or via phone, and/or continuing to provide essential in-person services to clients while mitigating the risk of spreading COVID-19 with new procedures, protocols and personal protective equipment. This is a time of great stress for you and your employees: staying safe, worries over risks to selves and loved ones, worries over employment and organizational sustainability, isolation, juggling multiple roles with working while caring for children, learning how to use new technologies, adapting to new ways of doing your jobs, and simply the complete disruption of routine and disconnection involved. You may be feeling unsure how to best support your staff during this time, and how best to lead them and manage newly remote staff and/or staff working at such heightened risk. This fear and uncertainty is normal, and ok, we are all doing the very best we can, and adapting as quickly as we can. We will all stumble along the way. Here at Athena, we want to support you by pulling together some resources that may help you in shaping your practices with staff. Take a look, and see what ideas may work for you and your organization. But don’t stress about getting it perfect – at the basis of this, if you approach your staff authentically, give voice to the difficulty, have open and honest communication, find ways to meet remotely more regularly, and most importantly seek opportunities to listen with compassion, you will find your way through this, together.