Leadership and Communications During Trying Times

2020 was a year that tested many of us like no other. We challenge anyone to look at their business and operational goals from December 2019 and compare them to the year we actually endured in 2020. 

What a year it was. 

We talk a lot about leadership, and as a mass notification platform we work with impressive leaders every day to keep employees and communities safe and informed. Whether they need to respond to a cyberattack by communicating on their devices, shutting down a campus due to a COVID outbreak, or issuing tornado warnings, our partners are able to use the power of quick, easy mass notifications to lead effectively.

What does leadership look like during a pandemic? We tapped into some of the savvy practices our partners used in 2020 to come up with a list of some of their best advice. Because the pandemic is still active in most of the communities we serve, these practices will serve leaders well into 2021 and beyond. Here are six of the top tips from Regroup and the leaders it works with:

Keep in contact. This is a no-brainer and we think COVID-19 taught institutions large and small how to work remotely, or work a hybrid schedule to keep as many workers and the people they serve as safe as possible. With a changed physical workplace for most people outside of essential workers, communication tools such as Slack and Zoom were important ways to keep in touch, and project management tools such as Asana and Trello kept projects afloat. 

Acknowledge the new normal. This isn’t just about workers working remotely. Some workers lost loved ones, and others became sick themselves. Quarantines were constantly top-of-mind. Many industries, including restaurants, entertainment and sports, were hit dramatically hard by shutdowns. In addition to direct job losses, all of the companies that serve the most-impacted industries had to make adjustments to stay in business. On top of that, parents of school-age students were in many cases challenged with helping their kids learn online. Great leaders were able to compassionately and calmly cope with these changes, in some cases major changes, and were able to keep their staffs productive through regular communications. 

Be able to pivot. Changing regulations meant that many businesses were faced with decisions all year that they didn’t face the week before. Advice from experts on social distancing, changes in municipal rules and even new laws kept leaders at all levels on their toes! By leveraging their teams and being aware of the adapting landscape, leaders were able to ensure operational continuity without too many surprises. 

Prepare for the expected, and the unexpected. In addition to the often daily surprises the pandemic brought to the business, healthcare, municipal and educational environments, there were plenty of emergency and non-emergency business-as-usual events that good leaders were able to plan ahead for. (Regroup offers a guide on templates that can come in handy to plan ahead.) Weather information, budget requests, be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) notifications all needed to be issued — pandemic or no pandemic.

Define expectations, explain them clearly. There was a dramatic reduction in travel last year, but work benefits like vacation time or sick days were still available for those who qualified. Performance reviews still happened; people were promoted, and some were demoted or let go. Great leaders were able to communicate what their expectations were in a rather topsy-turvy year, and in turn wound up with more job satisfaction and productivity from their staffs.

Be fearless. This sounds counterintuitive, but 2021 could be the perfect year for some companies to lead without fear. Maybe your company has been looking to relocate your headquarters (we did!) Perhaps this is the year you institute a four-day workweek, or a hybrid work remote/in-office policy. There may be a new vertical your company wants to pursue, or a new revenue or profit goal you can set. Maybe it’s time for a rebrand, a new logo, or a new marketing strategy. By communicating objectives to the team, great leaders can get important buy-in and get started on those brave goals.  

Supercharge your communication strategy with a flexible and easy to use mass notification solution. If you are interested in knowing how Regroup is helping leaders across the nation maintain communication with people that matter to them, schedule a free demonstration today.

 

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