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Great Leadership in a Unique Situation: COVID-19

Here we are, knee deep in the teleworking times of the COVID-19, trying to separate our

home lives from work lives, while our children are homeschooling and spouses are nearby. As a leader, there are a few things that you can do to help your team reduce their stress as we push through this challenging time. However, most of these points apply to working on a team in general and being a good team leader and team player.

1. Be considerate of each person's circumstances.

If you don't have children it really is hard to grasp why it is so challenging to accomplish anything when they are around. Say one of your co-workers is a single mom with a 5 and 7 year old. It is beneficial to understand that those children constantly need her attention and she may not be able to accomplish tasks when you want and perhaps to the quality that you want.

2. Help your team separate work and family.

When working from home, it is too easy to work the extra hours, check your email or work on a project when you can't sleep and finish up a task during dinner. Help your team by setting boundaries for them. Tell them to choose their hours, with some flexibility, but try to help them avoid the late nights, missing dinner with the family and using their personal assets to accomplish the mission. Yes, that is right, when in the office, you can talk, now you are likely using their personal mobile device to text throughout the day. Try to use official channels to communicate such as Skype, Zoom meetings and regular old email. This is beneficial for documentation purpose as well.

3. Assign meaningful projects.

When you are assigning projects, make sure that there is a purpose and an end goal. Nobody likes to work on a project for several days or weeks for it to just sit in your email queue for the next several months as you tell them "it is on the back burner because other things came up." If you don't have the time to review it, submit it, publish it, provide feedback or whatever it is that your team does with your projects, don't ask them to do it.

4. Remember that tone doesn't exist when typed.

When communicating frustrations to a team member or the entire team, it is much better to do so via Zoom or a telephone conversation. Remember how easy it is to take a text message or email the wrong way, and how quickly that can destroy your team's dynamic when you return to work.

5. Provide feedback in the right way.

When reviewing a project, offer positive words first. Was the project successful overall but you just want to mention a few ideas that might have made it run smoother? If so, don't jump right in with how it went wrong, your team worked hard on that project and likely put forth their best effort. Be sure to tell them how well it works before jumping into the negative feedback. Studies show that during isolation, sensitivity is heightened, if a team member feels threatened or attacked, they will shutdown and probably spend the next week updating their resume and scanning job sites.

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