There are not too many people who will not say that this was a pretty unique year with regard to managing employees and clients during the global COVID pandemic. It seems that every day someone needed something different than ever before just to survive. Employees needed more flexibility as their children went into and out of school, family members got sick, or they themselves needed some extra help in dealing with these unique conditions. As leaders, this could be challenging and frustrating during a time when your organization needed all the help and support it could get to continue doing what you do. However, there were no options but to be flexible and try to support your team and your clients in any way that you reasonably could. Now with the holidays upon us, this will become amplified.
The holiday season is always taxing on a business as personal issues seem to arise at a pace greater than the rest of the year. This year, expect that on steroids. People all over the world have been beaten down by COVID and the challenges that come along with all of the change and stress that has accompanied it. Throw in the holidays where long standing traditions will be flipped on their heads, and your team may be very distracted and become absent from their day to day roles. How do you deal with this? Here are a few tips:
- Try to be understanding. See things from your employees’ point of view and understand that they are not dropping balls at work on purpose. This is a difficult time in a good year if someone is dealing with personal losses and family conflicts but this year is going to be a mess for many families.
- Be clear about what is really important for the business. Regardless of what is happening in everyone’s personal lives, the business still need to operate. This may not be your breakout year, but define what absolutely needs to be done and work with your employees to make sure that those things get done.
- Be honest with yourself and with others. As a leader you are also going to be stressed about home and work challenges. Be honest with your team about what you are going through. That personal vulnerability will help them understand that when you ask for something to get done that may be in conflict with their personal challenges, you are doing it for the good of the business.
Following these simple rules will help everyone get through this tough time and hopefully allow your organization to survive. Next year you can work on thriving, this year you may need to just survive.
Michael Giuffrida from Southington CT has been operating businesses since 1997. He is an experienced entrepreneur in business management, profitable growth, business valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and information technology managed services.