What your people need now

People need to trust leaders always. But especially now. Your workforce is looking to trust you. And it will trust if it believes leadership cares for each individual, the community, and humanity as a whole.

Beyond caring, leaders must show they have a plan. You don’t have to know everything, but you do need to be transparent about what is driving decisions. A leadership team that looks ahead proactively, and responds rather than reacts, goes a long way toward helping people in volatile times.

The ability for leaders to address people’s physical, mental and relationship needs is the foundation of trust. While all of these needs have equal importance, there is an order in which they make the biggest difference.

Gather the troops. Get feedback from all areas of your organization and all types of workers.

Relieve people from unnecessary work and activities. At a time when people are worried about their basic needs and their paycheck, focusing resources is key.

Responsible leadership is an imitable formula. Use it. Educate and coach leaders on the five elements: stakeholder inclusion, emotion and intuition, mission and purpose, technology and innovation, and intellect and insight.

If you aren’t used to working in cross-functional, agile teams, now is the time to begin. 

Elevate your most visible leaders based on compassion and caring. Workers will remember the faces and voices you empower to lead the charge during this time. Be sure those voices are not only wise, but compassionate and caring.

Integrate your company’s purpose and values into every communication and initiative. Shared purpose and values is what will give employees the sense of belonging they so desperately need right now. As quarantines and social distancing play out, employees need a sense of connection.

Tell a story. Don’t spew data. People are wired to find meaning and respond best to stories and analogies during times of great stress and ambiguity. What people want as human beings is the larger story, the insights.

Rally leaders around consistent communication. Establish strong communication governance, guiding principles and tone. Leaders throughout the organization need to be in sync.

You were always going to need remote workforce capabilities for at least a portion of your workforce. Now’s the time.