Communication and appreciation are two essentials to leading a highly productive and cohesive team. When teams lack these, they experience high turnover and overstaffing. Throwing people at problems rarely works because we fail to get to the heart of the issue. When facing a crisis, communication and appreciation are critical to running a successful practice, yet many times they are the first things to be thrown out the window.
5 Ways to Excel at Communicating & Appreciating
- Have a plan. You may not know what to do, but when you lack clarity and vision your team has nothing to rally around. In times of crisis your strategy is the vision statement that drives the team. So, be clear, write down what you want, and think about those you can connect with on ideas. Once you have the plan, commit to it with unwavering faith.
- Communicate your strategy to the team as a whole. Acknowledge the crisis and frame it in a positive way because your perspective is the one that matters the most. Get your facts from reliable sources, not media outlets. When you are calm, confident, and courageous, your team will follow suit. Most leaders won’t feel ready for a crisis situation and won’t be perfect. So, communicate the strategy and delegate the roles clearly.
- Trust your team. During a crisis everyone has more to do, as the leader you should be doing the tasks only you can do, and completing tasks to support your team. Give direction and offer support to get the most out of everyone. Many minds are better than one and your team will rise to the challenge if allowed. If your team can’t make decisions without you, you will quickly become overwhelmed. Be flexible and let everyone contribute to the end result.
- Leaders are born in a time of crisis. Take notice when people are stepping up and going out of their way. Treat your team like you would a special guest at your home. Your team chooses to come to work and help you accomplish goals, so love and serve them the best that you know how to right now. Writing out cards, sticky post-its, or replying to texts and emails with appreciation is one way to be thoughtful. Once the dust settles, you can take time to perform more generous acts of appreciation. Appreciate people based on their levels and don’t compare them to one another. Doing this will foster growth in each person and the team as a whole.
- Plan your communication and when you will check in on your strategy. When you have clear channels of communication, where people can get and give direct feedback, it saves time with daily emails and interruptions. Schedule discussion times and check in with your team. Ask how they are feeling and check for blockers. Blockers may or may not have to do with work. Don’t get bent out of shape if someone has personal blockers. Have empathy and help devise a plan that works for them. The crisis, especially something like COVID-19, effects more than your team members life at work. When you help people eliminate blockers, they will bring them to you before they become an issue. Personally, I have a rule to never be upset if a team member tells me they need help getting their work completed. My only request is that they alert me before the deadline so we can get more hands and eyes on the project.
When you follow these steps to communication and appreciation you will keep unity and boost productivity. Continue to evaluate the crisis, and your plan against the results. You and your team may not get everything right, but you will learn, grow, and become the best version of the leader you were created to be.
I believe in you!