Getting back to basics
With the WHO declaring COVID-19 a pandemic and the coronavirus infection rate continuing to rise, businesses are being urged to review their continuity plans to ensure they are as prepared as they can be for the impending impact of the virus.
As a training provider ASC T&D has a responsibility to minimise the risk of infection whilst ensuring the business can continue to function in supporting both our clients and staff.
I’m happy to say that we are well down the track in actioning our response plan. The majority of our training sessions now being offered as Live Virtual Classrooms, allowing participants to continue their learning whether they are working from the office or from home.
I’m really proud of our team and how quickly they’ve been able to get the virtual classrooms up and running, particularly as most of the team now working remotely. Actually I’m really proud of the way everyone here has approached the last couple of weeks. You might be surprised to hear that developing and actioning our response plan has been a very positive team bonding experience.
Whilst ‘disaster planning’ may not be front of mind when thinking about team bonding activities, the focus on a common goal and the problem-solving approach we’ve taken has drawn out the resourcefulness and capability of all team members. As well as giving the team the opportunity to contribute in a different way, it is likely that some of the solutions we’ve come up with will become part of our ‘business-as-usual’ operations. A bonus outcome!
With a strong focus on the logistics and practicalities of maintaining service delivery, we do need to be careful we don’t lose sight of the people and what they need from us as leaders in what is an uncertain and evolving environment.
In guiding our teams through this period leaders will need to draw upon many of their skills: managing change, innovation, getting the best out of your team (in some cases a remote team) and problem solving.
Of course, underpinning each of these skills is the basic and number one skill of successful managers and leaders – communication.
So what does good communication look like and should we be doing anything different in the current environment?
Good communication is good communication whether you are in the middle of a regular week or you are facing new challenges as businesses are now. Below I’ve set out four of the most important attributes a leader needs to be a successful communicator.
- Be authentic
Be you and be sincere. Avoid jargon and corporate speak and use your own words. The more personal and engaging the communication, the more effective it will be.
- Be simple and direct
The goal of communication is to convey your message and have it understood, so use language that is simple and direct.
Yes, we are all time poor but don’t succumb to pressure for ‘sound bite’ communication; your team aren’t mind readers so don’t assume they know what you’re thinking if you haven’t told them.
At the same time don’t waste your team’s time with complicated or confusing communication. If you have a lot of information to pass on, consider breaking it down into separate pieces of communication.
- Be visible
Communicate frequently across a range of forums and media, and be generous with information and ideas. Where you can, use stories to bring ideas and goals to life. Help your team get to know you. This will help them feel connected to you and the work you want them to do.
Where possible, be physically visible in the workplace too. This doesn’t mean you need to be always available to your team but it allows non-verbal communication to come into play as you can back up your words with actions.
We all know the rule about having two ears and one mouth and using them in that proportion. Leaders are no exception. Listening well builds trust and respect, and fosters openness in the workplace. It is also the key to understanding your team – their perspective, their knowledge, their concerns and complaints.
You can stay up-to-date with the latest information on the coronavirus on the Australian Government’s dedicated website.
Guidance on managing coronavirus in the workplace can be accessed at Safe Work Australia.
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