For most of us, mid-October marked the seven month mark since our personal and professional words were turned upside down.
If you’ve pushed through the ups and downs of projects cancelled and new ones frantically spooled up, of losing colleagues to unavoidable cuts, of homeschooling with one hand and attending a meeting with the other, or just consistently winning Zoom bingo (“you’re on mute!” they say), then you are to be heartily congratulated.
As most parts of the world enter a second wave, those haven’t changed. If anything, with inevitable feelings of frustration and burnout, being intentional about relationships, culture and communication are all the more critical.
If you’re a leader, you might already feel like you’re shouting into the void.
And let’s face it, leadership was a lonely (and busy) place long before SARS CoV-2 became the constant companion of our daily lives and decisions.
So what to do?
To feel safe and secure, humans need information. Good, quality, clear and transparent. Otherwise, they make it up. “I think” quickly becomes “I believe”, which even more quickly becomes, “I KNOW”.
If there is one thing we’ve learned from two decades in this biz, it’s that given an empty bucket where communications should be, people will fill it up with feelings and anxieties and assumptions. And today, you can be sure that the one thing that’s absolutely still thriving out there is the water cooler. It’s just cloaked in DM-land.
Many of the messages you’re going to have to deliver these days are hard ones. It’s okay to be human and admit that it’s hard. Admit that you also feel uncertain. And admit that the future isn’t as crystal clear as it used to be. But also to take the opportunity to remind your team about the values that bind you together.
And it’s critical to say these things directly, with empathy, in multiple channels, and to repeat the important parts over and over.
Your people are listening.
The right comms can help everyone side step the void.