It’s undeniable – the Coronavirus quarantine has made an indelible mark on our working culture. However, as some have pointed out: while all of this has been chaotic and stressful, it has also given us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the way we live and work.
Whenever something unexpectedly bad strikes, you can take two positions. You can be the victim, lamenting how this is all unfair and just waiting for something to change so you can go back to the way it used to be; OR you can let go of those concepts and consider what new knowledge or tools this crisis has given you that could make you a better, stronger leader.
If you are ready to settle in to some professional introspection, here are three lessons the quarantine has offered:
- People can successfully function independently. The key to managing team members (remote or not) is having a strong accountability strategy. When expectations, dependencies and consequences are clearly understood, most employees rise to the challenge without close supervision. Those that do require close supervision are now standout outliers. Does your culture focus on rewarding the independent or punishing the outliers?
- Meetings are not the best way to communicate. On the first day of the lockdown, we all learned the limits of our online tools. Remote network access and online meeting solutions were not designed to handle the load, so teams turned to alternatives like Slack, email and even old fashioned conference calls. These platforms encourage concise, focused and efficient communications that work. Does your culture rely on meetings or promote other forms of communication?
- Ability is greater than image. For the past 6 weeks, people have been getting their work done without makeup, wearing stretchy pants and sporting some intense quarantine dos. Without the distraction of outward appearances, we are forced to focus on what really counts: whether they can do the work. What kind of dress expectations does your culture promote and how does it impact opinions on value?
When all of this passes, we will have the opportunity to go back to work and be the same person we were or be something greater because of the experience. Which will you choose to be?