The COVID-19 pandemic started approximately a year ago, and shelter in place (also called lockdown in some geographies) began about nine months ago. When it started, I thought it would last a few weeks or at the max month or two. That was an error in my judgment. Soon it dawned upon me that it was going to last longer. I had to learn to deal with it; there was no other option. 

The pandemic resulted in impacting not only personal but work life. On the work front, we all made a few changes, so did I. But I am not sure what I did as a leader is enough. 

Before the pandemic, I could barge into my team members’ cubes or bump into them in the hallways or at coffee stations. But all that stopped, and as a leader, I had a yearning for more transparency and collaboration. So, to keep thing flowing, I took the following measures: 

  1. Scheduled weekly 1:1s to maintain transparency 
  2. Suggested using intranet or Confluence pages to keep track of the tasks
  3. Communicated constantly that we are in this together and this time will also pass
  4. Informed that I welcome bidirectional communication via text or phone calls 
  5. Scheduled additional project-specific discussions to monitor progress and keep things in perspective 
  6. Invited more cross-functional leaders to my staff meetings and all-hands to facilitate information exchange
  7. Initiated exploring collaboration tools to assess how we can do things better

In hindsight, I don’t think these steps are the best practices but merely actions driven by common sense. I am sure others did things differently to achieve different or better results. So, the questions are:

  1. As a leader, what did you do differently to cope up with the pandemic?
  2. Did the changes you initiate work for you? How did you measure the effectiveness?
  3. What changes would you recommend or keep even after the pandemic is over and why?

BTW, don’t get me wrong, I also read many expert articles about how to lead differently during the pandemic. But as you all know, theory and practice are two different things.