10 Ways To Build A Stronger Team During The COVID-19 Crisis

During a crisis, most leaders no longer think about company culture. They are more focused on running their business day-to-day than strengthening relationships within their team. While the pandemic may have caused you to press pause on your culture-building initiatives, now's an ideal time to re-engage and inspire your employees.

According to Deb Boelkes, author of The WOW Factor Workplace: How to Create a Best Place to Work Culture, what leaders do during times of crisis will impact their culture once the crisis has passed. That's why Boelkes says now is the time to refresh your leadership skills and double-down on your culture-building efforts.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Boelke's 10 ways to create a WOW culture, even when the future looks uncertain.

1. Be more visible and engaged. Your sales team members are watching you. They need to know how to proceed and they need your guidance. Make sure you do not disappear when times get tough.

2. Get comfortable with technology. Not familiar with Zoom, Skype or FaceTime? That's okay. Just call on team members who are more comfortable and proficient with using such technology, recommends Boelkes.

3. Clarify your mission. Is your sales team clear about why things are being done? Boelkes says it's critical to communicate to avoid demotivating your team. Whether times are good or bad, your sales reps should know the organizational strategy and what objectives they must meet.

4. Eliminate roadblocks immediately. With the sudden shift to remote work, many employees have had to do things in new ways. Add on the stress of a global pandemic, and anxieties are bound to arise. Boelkes says it's important for leaders to help clear any roadblocks and then help their team members solve problems for themselves as best they can. The goal is to help workers become more self-sufficient and productive.

5. Remain open to new perspectives. During these unprecedented times, it's more important than ever to adapt to customers' changing needs. Boelkes recommends calling on your team members to share their ideas on how to improve internal processes, client services or the customer experience.

6. Strive to know your employees better. Even if you can't have face-to-face conversations with your team members, you should still talk with them often. Ask them about their career goals and what keeps them working at your company. Make sure they know that you're there to help them achieve their professional goals, says Boelkes.

7. Note employees' changing needs. Boelkes suggests asking your employees, "What might lure you away from here?" This is an opportunity to suggest new assignments or transfer opportunities. Sometimes just knowing realignment is in the future is enough to inspire your team members.

8. Nurture your team. What are some ways you can keep your team learning? Just because we're in a pandemic doesn't mean people should stay within their comfort zones. Look for ways to help your team members pursue professional development opportunities.

9. Provide networks and support systems. In these challenging times, Boelkes recommends offering team members opportunities to participate in webinars to aid in reducing stress, teambuilding or professional coaching.

10. Institute Management by Objectives (MBOs). Allow your employees to weigh in on whether they want daily, weekly or ad hoc performance reviews. Be sure to ask each one what it takes to maintain a culture of WOW.

While no one is sure what the next normal will look like, leaders can take steps now to emerge from the pandemic better and stronger. Just because your team is working remotely does not mean you can forget about culture. Instead, commit to leading your team well and helping them grow as leaders and employees during this unique time in history.

Source: Deb Boelkes is the author of The WOW Factor Workplace: How to Create a Best Place to Work Culture and Heartfelt Leadership: How to Capture the Top Spot and Keep on Soaring. She has more than 25 years in Fortune 150 high-tech firms, leading superstar business development and professional services teams.

filed under May 2020
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