Leading In Turbulent Times: 4 Tips For A Successful Return To The Workplace

June 29, 2020 | Activate Learning, New Workplace Leadership | 4 min read

Despite the challenges of recent months, organizations are finding ways to recover and renew their workplace through competent leadership. Is your organization prepared with strong leaders who can create a new path to opportunity and growth? Read on to uncover four tips that will guide leaders as your organization rebounds from the Covid-19 Pandemic.

1. Utilize sound judgment and critical thinking competencies

One of the top issues concerning both leaders and their returning team members is safety in the workplace. Smart leaders will apply critical thinking competencies to assess the situation and determine what precautions are needed to enable a safe and productive environment. For example, you might need to evaluate the benefits of enhanced office cleaning, personal protective equipment, or potentially limiting in-person working days. Proactive sharing of the company response plan and access to government resources will go a long way in establishing trust with your returning employees.

2. Be open and transparent in your communications

A hallmark competency of a powerful leader is effective communication. At a time when leaders are burdened with so many issues to address, having a clear and competent communication plan is essential. Great leaders know that regular meetings to communicate any changes are a good way to engage your team and keep the dialogue going. Encourage question submissions in advance and hold question and answer sessions in an open and transparent forum. A strong leader also knows that being completely up-front with your team about complex challenges the company may be facing, as well as the new opportunities presented, is important. Be sure to acknowledge when you do not have an answer and offer to respond when you do.

3. Keep your team focused and nimble

During the early days of the Covid-19 Pandemic, many organizations moved to remote offices and held meetings through video conferencing applications like Zoom or WebEx. While this presented a new opportunity to stay in touch, it also created some challenges for security and led to meeting burnout. Ensure your organization’s leaders at all levels know how to manage virtual teams effectively if employees continue to work remotely.

Are new skills needed or have job roles shifted in the post-pandemic workplace? You may want to offer your teams upskilling or reskilling opportunities to keep the talent you have engaged and high performing. Consider if a learning course on using collaboration tools, business skills, agile principles, or leadership development may be helpful. Staying focused on specific goals while improving competencies provides an opportunity for growth and innovation. When faced with challenging situations, creativity and learning could inspire a new way to design or deliver your product or solution.

4. Tackle the fear and anxiety your team may have

The Covid-19 Pandemic and its aftermath have affected nearly everyone around the world. It has brought disruption, hardship, stress, illness, and death to a global population. Its effects will undoubtedly carry fear, anxiety, and burnout to the workplace. A strong and resilient leader will be able to determine how their team is doing and where interventions might be needed to return to a productive workplace. Leaders must know what stress looks like and offer steps to help employees build their resilience. Consider offering professional counseling services, one-to-one meeting time for a personalized check-in, or even an alternative work environment for those having difficulty returning. Sometimes a simple inquiry to ask someone how they are doing and giving them a chance to vent can be a stress reducer. Be sure to ask for ideas and inputs from all team members—employees who feel a part of the solution are more invested in the organization’s success. Lastly, foster a shared sense of team identity and celebrate the return with some food, camaraderie, and fun activities.

Now more than ever, leaders with the right mindset and competencies are needed to help organizations thrive in these turbulent times.

Is your organization ready to develop future leaders or empower existing leaders with greater competencies? Discover Skillsoft’s Aspire Journey for Leadership—a curated learning path focused on the leadership capabilities needed in key transition moments that are critical to the success of both your organization and an individual’s career. The Aspire Journey contains a thoughtfully crafted collection of multi-modal learning content with three paths to choose from: first time manager, mid-level leader, or leader of leaders.

Check out the Aspire Journey for Leadership Development in your Percipio learning experience platform. Don’t have a Percipio account? Start a free access today.

Morgan Pearson is the Director of Global Portfolio Marketing at Skillsoft.

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