All over the news are reports on the need for social distancing, and many of our clients have sent their employees to work from home. In times like these where we must be physically separated, what is important for leaders to know about remaining connected?
The quality of a leader’s communication to the people who are counting on her or him in times of challenge and uncertainty is crucial to creating a connected, confident, and resilient community. We have a history in high-stakes communication, and there are three important things we have learned through our experience:
Leaders that share accurate information that is grounded in fact-based expertise allow people to feel that they are in the presence of the truth.
Don’t wait to share information until you think it’s complete. Share what you know when you know it. When you wait, you leave a vacuum for people to fill with fear-based stories and explanations.
Communicate more often than you think, and certainly every time there is something new to share.
Many leaders think they need to be the source of the answer, but we think it is more important for leaders to know the questions, and to share the questions as soon as they are aware of them.
For example, a question present for many leaders now is: how are we going to manage being completely remote for a period of months? Instead of trying to solve this yourself, what if you give the question to all the people in the organization and say:
“We would like to hear from you. What do you think about this? What are your insights and ideas? How do we help ourselves stay effective, connected, and confident? I don’t know the answer, but I bet WE do.”
When people are contributing, they feel safer than they do when they are waiting for an answer from someone else.
Leaders should be prepared to be surprised and delighted by the ideas and wisdom that come from putting a group of people together and getting input from a wide array of individuals. The answers to leaders’ biggest questions can actually come from the communities they lead. We are smarter together than we are separately.
When going through tumultuous change, there are constant needs to realign. Where there’s potential disagreement or where alignment is at risk, don’t try to have that conversation over email or text.
Add more senses so people can hear mood and nuance, and they will more readily available to truly understand one another, learn from one another, and come up with a path forward.
Be conscious of the level of potential disagreement, and how many senses can be added to assure that we truly do connect. When we’re together physically, we get away with misstep and mistake in different ways. We don’t have as much room for error when we have fewer of our senses engaged in being with one another.
We have a helpful resource for staying attuned to exactly this called The 5 Sense Solution.
In a time when we are physically separated and uncertainty and anxiety are present, it is crucial that we stick to the leadership principles we know inspire greater connection and creativity.
We also hosted a live conversation on all the different ways we can connect powerfully, keep producing results, and build community and confidence. You can find the recording here: Virtual Gathering: Communication, Community, and Confidence
We will continue to explore this question and many others related to how we stay connected and keep creating value in challenging circumstances, so stay tuned for future episodes of The Connection Diaries and sign up for our newsletter, where we will share more resources and reflections over the coming weeks.
If you and your community have been having inspiring conversations and ideas about how to navigate the COVID-19 reality, we would love to hear about them! Please comment below or connect with us on LinkedIn. Let’s unleash our collective brilliance.