Managing looks different today than it did last month. (FWIW, so does coaching.) In times of great instability, I find humans to have a hard time thinking strategically. Instead, they are reactive.
This is no critique of that instinct; to make long-term plans in times of turmoil feels inefficient at best. So how do we support people through this time at work? How do we keep things on rails, moving work forward?
Through coaching folks this past month, I’ve heard a variety of ways they are coping with the unknown. Here’s a common sentiment:
It made me think: if you are a manager, how can you balance your employees’ personal with the professional, life difficulties vs. work? What could you do to gently prepare for your next 1:1 together? How do you make sure work keeps getting done?
Here is a simple tool for 1:1s in Turbulent Times. It’s not long and it’s not complicated; it serves simply as a way for someone to prepare some thoughts so you can get beyond “wow, this is a crazy time, huh?”
For managers: I recommend sharing this with your team at the beginning of the week. Let them know that you’re going to use it as a structure for your 1:1 but that they can also bring any other topics to discuss, too.
For employees: you’re welcome to share this with your manager or team to socialize the idea. Or fill it out in preparation for your next 1:1 and tell your manager that you needed a template to organize your thoughts. (You’re allowed to use managerial tools, even if your leader hasn’t brought it up!)
The truth is, these are trying times. The world is shifting drastically day-by-day. And still, I can see that employees want steadiness, focus and help prioritizing. In a time of great instability, the greatest gift managers can give is steady structure, support and an understanding tone.
PS Hang in there.