When the pandemic first started and leaders were grappling with how to manage a remote workforce, we spoke a lot about communication, honesty, and compassion, and how these values can support employee well-being. But as it became clear that our “temporary” WFH setup wasn’t as temporary as we thought it would be, those workplace values may have moved to the back burner –– yet there’s still a great need for them. Research published in 2021 shows that employees are looking for emotional support from their workplaces, with two-thirds feeling like their employer could be doing far more to support their mental health and well-being.
To improve your leadership style and make your employees feel seen and supported, here are three Microsteps to try immediately:
1. Before discussing work with colleagues, ask how they’re doing.
When the pandemic first disrupted our routines, there was a shared camaraderie in asking each other how we’re doing. But over time, as the disruption became our new normal, so many of us stopped checking in. Now is the time to get back into this habit. By asking our teammates how they’re feeling and how we can support them, we show respect and interest in their personal lives and their well-being.
2. Reach out to every member of your team once a day.
Now that we’ve been working remotely for a while, it’s crucial that we schedule virtual touch-bases, and make an effort to Slack or email our team members to check in. Even a quick hello will let your colleagues know you’re thinking of them, which helps them feel valued. Working from home removes synchronicity of connection that we once had when we were sitting next to each other in the office, so making your check-ins constant is key.
3. End your next one-on-one with an optimistic statement.
Researchers have found that leaders who convey hopefulness in stressful times are better at helping colleagues find meaning in their work. During your next one-on-one, try ending the conversation with a joyful story you heard on the news, or a hopeful anecdote that’s keeping you resilient. Remember that your words have power, and can impact the mindset and well-being of your team.