3 Ways to Build Resilience into Your Company Culture
We’re all being tested right now in ways we could never have imagined. If you’re a business leader, you’re facing your own particular challenges when it comes to keeping now-remote teams calm, cohesive, and productive. It’s a huge responsibility. How you handle it is a reflection of the work culture you’ve already created or are currently creating in the face of immense change.
Here are three ways to build resilience into your culture during these tough times.
Compassion. Begin with compassion, because caring for your people comes first. This is a highly stressful time, with schools closed, countless offices and businesses shuttered, and tangible fear everywhere. Top-down directives can seem out of touch with people juggling countless variables each day. Now’s the time to be open to a collaborative approach and work alongside your team members to develop realistic targets together.
While you’re doing that, keep in mind that hammering on deliverables during back-to-back video calls is draining, and it can potentially do a lot more damage than good. Scheduling regular breaks and breathers (not just bio-breaks!) between meetings is a simple way to show everyone you’re putting their well-being first.
Here’s one more reminder: Assume positive intent. When you assume that everyone’s doing their level best, you foster trust and respect throughout your organization. I guarantee people will stretch farther for you, both now and in the future, when you ask and listen to what works best for them in this new normal.
Courage. Be courageous. It takes a lot of guts to be a leader in these very challenging times. True leadership requires having the courage to be decisive, make tough calls, and plan for the worst (while hoping for the best). It means being willing to acknowledge the unknowns and deliver bad news.
Did you know that the Latin root of the word “courage” is “cor” or heart? Leading courageously requires both the bravery and resilience to make hard calls and the heart to reassure the team when everything feels unmoored.
Communication. Communicate like crazy, then repeat (while being careful not to overload or schedule your team, of course). Here’s a simple rule of thumb: However frequently you communicated before the global crisis, do it more. Much more. Hold those weekly team meetings daily. Lead your monthly round-table weekly. In the absence of information, people make things up. News and information get garbled.
People at every level want and need regular, reliable updates just as often as you can provide them. Utilize formal channels as a weekly all-hands, but also create informal coffee chats or happy hours. Since we can’t see each other in the break room or over lunch, in-person contact really matters. One private equity CEO I know now chooses two team members a day from any of his global offices and calls or emails them directly just to check-in. That small effort goes a long way in making the whole group feel genuinely cared for.
Here’s one more point about communication. Frequent, thoughtful check-ins aren’t just essential for business teams. Everyone in your orbit — your kids and spouse/partner, friends and neighbors, family members near and far — all need more communication than usual right now. Just like with your business team, your mantra should be, “Who can I check-in with today and show them that I care?”
Stay safe, friends.
Candra Canning is the founder of Live Bright Now. She’s been coaching corporate leaders + teams to brighten their performance for 20 years. Candra believes a bright company culture creates bright individuals + bright communities — even a brighter world.