10 Ways to Put Your People First During the Pandemic

by Marcia Ayala 04/30/2020

What are some effective ways to create psychological safety, demonstrate empathy, and build trust with teammates during the pandemic? In this article by the Enterprisers Project, leaders from a variety of organizations share ten impactful ideas to change your leadership style for the better.  We hope you find these leadership insights helpful as you support your team during this unique time. 


High EQ leadership: 10 ways to put your people first during the pandemic

What can you do to create psychological safety, demonstrate empathy, and build trust with teammates right now? Leaders share 10 ideas to change your leadership style for the better

By Carla Rudder | The Enterprisers Project |April 13, 2020

As the weeks stretch into months, many people are finding their new version of “normal” during the pandemic. For leaders, this new normal entails connecting with their employees on a more personal, human level than ever before.

Not only are leaders getting a more intimate view of their employees’ lives – for instance, who has young kids at home, or who’s caring for an older parent – they are also gaining a deeper understanding of the mental and emotional toll of sudden, extreme changes to daily schedules and a 24/7 news cycle on each individual member of their team. These new insights are changing their leadership style – in many ways, for the better.”We all owe that to each other right now, to make sure that we are taking the time to ask these questions.”

“I’m starting every call by checking in with everyone on a personal level, asking simple questions such as: ‘How are you doing? How’s your family doing? How are your parents? How are your kids? Is there anything you need?’” says Bryson Koehler, CTO at Equifax. “Connecting at a human level is so important, and I do it because I am genuinely interested and I do care. I think we all owe that to each other right now, to make sure that we are taking the time to ask these questions. We’re all humans, and we can all get sick, so why don’t we act like that? 

“Frankly, we should probably continue to check in on each other even when we don’t have this going on, instead of jumping straight into the work topic du jour,” Koehler adds. “It might not be such a bad thing,”

What else can leaders do to show support, create psychological safety, demonstrate empathy, and build trust during this challenging time? Read on for 10 ideas from emotionally intelligent leaders.

[ IT leaders in our community are sharing advice on navigating this crisis. Read also: How to lead in the age of newly remote teams and Crisis leadership: How to overcome anxiety. ]

1. Extend meetings for personal connection

“We’ve extended all internal meetings by 15 minutes to allow for extra check-in time,” says Miles Kelly, executive vice president of marketing and communications for Skedulo. “This is for the purpose of genuine, human-to-human interaction. This isn’t business-related or regarding company matters, but rather to stay connected. Employees have really appreciated that time to share how they’re doing and what’s going on in their lives. Now is the time for empathy and understanding. Even if you’re not personally affected by COVID-19, there is widespread concern and anxiety. It’s important to support one another and listen.”

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