Berger Leadership Blog

Mar 27, 2020
Categories: Organizational Change

Ease tough situations with humanity

Dan BergerGlobally, we are facing a challenge right now with the coronavirus pandemic. Every day, there is more and more news about the impacts the virus is having on our health care system, economy, and communities. Whether you are quarantined or simply holding steady for a few days in self-isolation out of an abundance of caution, a remote setting quickly becomes lonely. And that's why it is critical for companies, managers and executives in times of crisis to work even harder to not lose connection with each other, to not lose that human touch.

This is an important mindset to keep as many of our businesses have moved online. Last week, I provided some insight into how to effectively manage telework – maintaining communication and ensuring employees are equipped with the right tools. This week, I'm focusing on how to alleviate some of the stress of the situation.

In a new post on Forbes, executive coach John Baldoni outlines how humor can help leaders navigate these uncertain times, reminding us that "leaders need to be vigilant about the emotional needs of their employees."

This isn't to make light of the situation we're in. Rather, taking time to make jokes with your direct reports, share funny or cute videos, or engage in light, non-work-related chats reminds us of the good in life. It refocuses our mind on the positives.

Showing your humanity and vulnerability in times of crisis will strengthen relationships with your team, even if you're not seeing them every day. Better, it instills hope.

Being vulnerable is a recommendation from another business management expert, Patrick Lencioni. Lencioni encourages leaders to "demonstrate your concern for the very real fears and anxieties that your people are experiencing." Empathize with what people are going through – both professionally and personally – and let your employees know that you are right here with them.

Lencioni also reiterates the importance of regular communication to keep your organization informed of what's going on, but also to offer encouragement and make sure employees have what they need. He also says to be creative. Maybe you start a chain with your team to share videos of how kids or pets are staying entertained during this time, or see if there are any new hobbies being taken up.

We're all in a difficult situation. The worries and uncertainty can weigh us down. The stress can make us short in our responses. That's where leaders come in: Lift the people in your life by being kind, encouraging, and ultimately human.

How we come out of this is up to each of us. Be confident in your decision making to keep your employees, members/customers, family and communities safe and strong. Be relatable, open, and even funny to keep spirits high.

Our bonds will only grow stronger as we step into our leadership positions and be the best version of ourselves.

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About the Author

B. Dan Berger, President and CEO, NAFCU

Dan BergerB. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and helped turn the association into the premiere advocate for the credit union industry.

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