It’s been a bit of an up and down week here at CommsMasters as we, as a team and individually, have been making sense of new ways of working, the unexpected pressures that now surround us both personally and in business, and the uncertainty that has been brought to so many aspects of life. From my conversations with leaders across organisations big and small, I know we are not alone in this.
I’ve been really encouraged to hear from a good number of leaders this week that my advice earlier this week emphasising the need to check-in with people one-to-one, not just in team meetings, has led to some good conversations. One-to-one interaction is crucial right now. We are each experiencing this period from our own unique perspective and we need the opportunity to talk about it from that perspective too.
Now, the crucial thing is that this one-to-one interaction is carried out consistently. It must not be a one-off. Schedule time for it in your diary next week, the week after that and the week after that…
Don’t become complacent once you believe that everyone has got used to ‘the new normal’ or think that your interest doesn’t matter to the people you lead. It does. Even if they have little to say other than that everything is fine, you are reassuring them by your actions that you are there to support them.
Last week was the 15th anniversary of my much loved sister’s death from cancer. In my reflections, I recalled how much she valued everyone who visited her. She was surprised by just how many people took time to call. But she especially valued those who maintained that connection regularly over the two years she was ill. She spoke several times about how much it meant to her that people kept making time for her in their busy lives, long after the initial flurry of attention following her diagnosis.
It’s a dramatic comparison, I know. But I believe also a valid one. Long after this period passes, the people you lead will remember the time that you gave them, not just as a one-off, but consistently over this period of uncertainty. It will also set good habits as we move beyond this time, and business resumes in whatever shape that may be. Regular, one-to-one connection is a fundamental element that underpins all good leadership.