Are Managers being supported during CV19 pandemic?

We see an inordinate amount of information across the whole gambit of media, supporting and encouraging the support of employees and small businesses and their owners, I have even promoted some techniques that I believe will help, now and in the future across different mediums.

But I see little out there to support those who also toil and work hard supporting the employees and indeed small businesses. These are the Managers, those who feel responsible for ensuring the employees are protected from the fallout as much as they can be during these turbulent times. It is these people who also try to keep the wheels turning for other businesses for they know one affects the other – both ways.

Like other major catastrophes and times of hardship, very few are not adversely affected. And so it is with managers, they also feel the financial pain but they also feel the pain of responsibility (yes there are some who think of themselves first, but this is not unique to managers). The managers who are leaders, think of the whole problem and feel pressured to conceive of positive outcomes for all, short- and long term.

Rebecca Knight in the HBR, wrote a good article titled “How to Handle the Pressure of Being a Manager Right Now”

Her article is broken into the following headings:

  • Choose self-compassion,
  • Reflect on your purpose,
  • Reframe the situation,
  • Force yourself to think positively,
  • Seek a sense of achievement,
  • Embrace your humanity,
  • Look outside for help,
  • Practice self-care.

The Brendan Reid website proposes ideas to help reduce pressure and relief stress. Although more generic and written a few years ago, they are concepts that are still relevant:

  • Score yourself on a longer-term horizon
  • Treat your team like partners
  • Involve your boss early
  • Create a “No Surprises” culture

And yet you, as a manager are still human. Take heed and care for yourself – as it goes “you need to stay well to be able to help others”. The UniMelb has some great points to be aware of:

  • Learn how to protect yourself, and others from COVID-19
  • Acknowledge your feelings
  • Maintain your day-to-day activities and a routine as much as possible
  • Stay connected
  • Remember that physical distancing does not need to mean social disconnection
  • Contribute
  • Keep things in perspective
  • Seek accurate information
  • Set limits around news and social media
  • Stay up to date with advice and support

Be becoming a little more knowledgeable on each of these, you can then not only look after yourself, but also your staff and ultimately the livelihood of all.

So, I wish you all the best in health and wisdom. You have been given an opportunity to show up as a leader of people, no matter what your calling or station in life. What will you do with it?

 

Full articles of each can be found at:
Rebecca Knight https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-handle-the-pressure-of-being-a-manager-right-now
Brendan Reidhttps://www.brendanreid.com/blog-1/4-ways-managers-can-reduce-pressure
UniMelbhttps://services.unimelb.edu.au/counsel/resources/wellbeing/coronavirus-covid-19-managing-stress-and-anxiety

How did I engage my team, build their confidence and equip them for the tasks ahead?

Just as many managers have done for a long time I am guessing, I was busy doing ‘things’ to promote these goals such as training and encouragement, etc. all of which was beneficial and did reap benefits, yet I could tell there was more potential there that was not being actualised.

The first improvement – and is fairly common – was to have each one of my #Team ‘run’ the morning Toolbox meeting and although this did help in a number of ways, it had become routine, a process they each did and got comfortable with. Yes, they each had their own idiosyncratic way of running the Toolbox meeting yet they still, basically asked the same questions and responded in the same way.

I needed something more to keep their attention and give them focus, something with more individual input, that was slightly different each time, something to stretch them without shutting them down. So, one morning whilst conducting one of our regular training sessions, I realised I could multiply the outcomes by me not doing the training. Sounds counter-productive but there is a logic…

The concept I put in place was for me to provide the training materials, then to have the designated team member for that day present the training (under my supervision) to the whole team. This turned out to be a fantastic opportunity and had more benefits than initially anticipated. How it worked….

Every morning we have a Toolbox meeting and immediately after, a short (up to 15 min) training presentation. Every team member, on a rotational basis, is scheduled to run the morning Toolbox meeting, after they are done, the person running the previous day’s meeting then conducts their training session – I had given them the training material after they had finished their Toolbox, so they had 24 hours to prepare (except when they got a whole weekend to be ready Monday).

It was not long after supervising a couple of these I released I could take it a little further. The improvement was in having the team critique each other’s presentations. Although they are still a little hesitant about this, they do add value and often they can provide very good suggestions. So they learn twice.

The benefits, as I mentioned, where so much more than expected. As a team they are more cohesive, they think more about the bigger picture (being trained in all roles across the function), how they fit in and they suggest improvements – within their own, as well as within other roles. As individuals, they are learning to provide and receive criticism in the right way (yep, more resilience). The regular training not only keeps them engaged and up to date, it is also helping them to read and better understand Policies, SOPs and Work Instructions and how they are written, even to the point of suggesting improvements or updates to these documents.

They are also much more confident in their roles, making informed decisions and asking pertinent questions. They are also becoming confident in themselves; they have a voice and people are listening to what they say.

That said, I am not leaving them to struggle through on their own, I supervise the meetings and the training, I answer their questions, point out improvements and encourage them to try – which to my surprise, they have all done without complaint or hesitation (well maybe a little hesitation).

And now I have more time to do what I do, better.