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What do people really need right now?

3 min read

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watch-icon October 6, 2020

What do people really need right now?

Logging in to your social media channel of choice and your certain to access a multitude of people with an opinion on this!  “Work remotely, socially distance yourself (as if you haven’t been doing that since the birth of Facebook!), close the schools, don’t acknowledge people by shaking their hands and especially no generous greetings such as hugging, hi-fiving or kissing!” 

We may be enticed by opinion, but what people need right now are the facts rather than opinions. Facts on how to remain healthy and avoid sharing a virus that we still don’t know enough about.   

BTW you can get all the current facts at https://www.who.int/ and if you fancy something Australian specific then https://www.health.gov.au/ is the location. 

So, if people need facts, how do you manage that in times of uncertainty?  

To start, the facts that one person needs may be different from the other.  Most of us feel overwhelmed, upset, and anxious when faced with uncertainty and this plays out differently for different people.  As a team, these feelings, and the resulting hit to productivity, can be contagious.  

  • Look after yourself – acknowledge that you will be feeling some level of stress and anxiety too.  Check-in on your values and ask yourself, who do I need to be to manage my people right now? 
  • Acknowledge how people are feeling, but then “move on to talk about how you want to act as a team.” 
  • Encourage and model self-compassion and self-care, for example, minimize your social media access, focus on the things you can control, practice self-reflection and growth. 
  • Ask your people what they need.  Have a conversation and not just once.  Keep the human connection alive, lean into discomfort by sharing your personal concerns and encourage ongoing contribution. Get buy-in from your team on what they believe they need, need to focus on and how to check-in on your collective goals and opportunities during this time.  
  • Share facts (rather than opinion) and always circle back where you don’t have an immediate answer.  

Neglecting your own concerns and people’s emotions during a time of ambiguity will lead to not getting the job done at all.  Reaching out to people with the right skills and support is critical to establish and continue the human connection during times of uncertainty.  Seeking support to build your human connection early will help you lead more creatively and establish a stronger more resilient team for the future. 

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Michelle Holland