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:
- Scheduled weekly 1:1s to maintain transparency
- Suggested using intranet or Confluence pages to keep track of the tasks
- Communicated constantly that we are in this together and this time will also pass
- Informed that I welcome bidirectional communication via text or phone calls
- Scheduled additional project-specific discussions to monitor progress and keep things in perspective
- Invited more cross-functional leaders to my staff meetings and all-hands to facilitate information exchange
- 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:
- As a leader, what did you do differently to cope up with the pandemic?
- Did the changes you initiate work for you? How did you measure the effectiveness?
- 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.