Leaders Encourage Through Crisis

We’re all still in pandemic mode, and uncertainty continues to be the dark cloud looming over us. Many are working from home, some for the first time. Companies who never had remote working options available for employees were suddenly forced to adapt. Others faced tough decisions to furlough employees. The list goes on and on and on.

Even so, when I’m looking, I can see light breaking through the clouds, and it’s encouraging. No one is comfortable with uncertainty. As someone who likes to plan ahead, I’ve had to learn to dial back and allow lots of flexibility and accommodations. I’m happy to do this for clients, of course, but as someone who values face-to-face interaction and in-person training, I admit I’ve struggled on some days. My biggest struggle, however, has been allowing the same grace and flexibility for myself.

Like most companies, Group Dynamic had to pivot.

We made several adjustments by:

  • Rescheduling several trainings for later in the year.
  • Becoming experts in Zoom training.
  • Re-working regular in-person trainings and modifying them to fit virtual needs.
  • Offering special pricing and special training options to help others adjust to the current reality.

We offered virtual training for the first time in Group Dynamic history.

We’re still pivoting through our summer months, where the majority of our training is youth leadership workshops for high school music programs. This adds a couple layers of complexity.

Yet, I remain encouraged by the response of music directors, corporate clients, and leaders of other organizations. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we did two things to help encourage clients. First, we hosted virtual coffee sessions via Zoom for anyone who just needed to talk. There were no topic parameters; people were welcome to ask questions, get feedback, chit-chat, or disclose frustrations. Whatever they needed. Second, I’ve had some extra conversations with clients, just to check in, and I’ve even been a “special guest” in some team meetings. Third, we sent out short emails of encouragement. These emails included reminders of best leadership practices in times of abundant stress and uncertainty. I’d like to share them all in one place.

Words from Alan

I’ve been in some of your team meetings this past week (thank you) and keep seeing these two keys to success:
1) Over-communicate
2) Be exceedingly human (in the words of Pat Lencioni). If you prefer Brené Brown, be awkward, brave, and kind.
That’s what’s working. Keep in touch.

It’s possible that you and those around you are settling into a routine. I encourage you to follow these two tips to avoid complacency and keep over-communicating:
Confirm receipt. 
Confirm understanding.

Consider: Not everyone has the tech to allow for a satisfying video meeting. Remember old “asynchronous” tools, too: Trello, Asana, and Mural might be in your arsenal. Dust them off? Please don’t let up on over-communication, too. Stay empathetic!

Teams are realizing that over-communication needs to continue, but make sure you get to know who on your team likes random hangouts and unstructured time, and who likes to have purpose and agenda every time you meet. It’s okay to have a 15-20 minute buffer before and/or after meetings.

Right now, err on the side of trusting too much. Share a little more information than usual. Give a little more autonomy than usual. Build trust now.

How are you encouraging others through this time? I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

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