These Communication Skills Will Help You Be a More Effective Leader — During the Coronavirus Crisis and Beyond

Use these tips to keep your team feeling connected, inspired, and supported to do their best work.

Hananeko_Studio / Shutterstock
Hananeko_Studio / Shutterstock

As this epic health crisis continues and more leaders are managing a remote workforce, certain work practices may almost feel “normal” by now. But when it comes to communicating and maintaining connections (and we’re not talking about the strength of your internet connection here), you may still be facing some challenges. After all, those impromptu conversations and serendipitous opportunities for meaningful interactions that were an integral part of day-to-day life pre-pandemic are now gone.

When there is still so much uncertainty, touching base with your team regularly can help them feel more grounded. Update even if there’s no update, says Timothy R. Clark, the CEO of a global leadership consulting firm, in the Harvard Business Review. “Uncertainty fuels anxiety. The more you communicate and share,” he notes, “the less chance there is to develop an information vacuum within your team.” 

Here are 3 simple ways to make sure you’re communicating effectively during the pandemic and beyond.

Schedule a weekly update with your team, even if you don’t have news to share. In times of uncertainty, hearing from leaders regularly is even more important.

95% of employees surveyed by Thrive say they want weekly status updates from their employer as the crisis continues to unfold.  

When communicating to your team, be direct about what you know and what you don’t know.

In times of crisis, employees don’t need their leaders to have every answer — but they do need to know they’re listening and sensitive to people’s concerns.  

Before delivering tough news or feedback, ask yourself: How can I say this in a more compassionate way?

When employees feel talked at instead of talked to, they become demoralized and disengaged. Feedback is met with defensiveness and resentment, and turnover goes up. That’s why “compassionate directness” is so key — it means that when something needs to be communicated, you do it immediately and with clarity, but also with compassion and empathy. 

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