How Leaders Can Ensure A Successful Return To Work.

With you and your organization returning to business unusual, leaders are faced with not only managing the process but dealing with the many questions and complex issues that will arise.

The challenge will be considerable and managing the return is as likely to be as complex as temporarily closing your business in the first place. Coupled with the personal turmoil and on-going confusion, the challenge for any leader will be considerable. Regardless, a strategy to deliver this successfully should be high on your leadership agenda and the following pointers will put you in good stead.

Become strategically fluid — With things moving so rapidly the strategy you had laid out last week may no longer valid for this week. You need to approach your plans with a a level of fluidity in your strategic thinking and what you do.

Tap into your resiliency — Throughout your life, you have dealt with various degrees of adversity. You’ve faced challenges throughout your career, even your personal life, and you have learnt how to adapt, now is the time to tap into those skills to lead your team into the future. Remember you’re more resilient than you think.

Develop an empathetic mindset — It’s a challenging time all round but to improve staff retention, morale and productivity, you must be empathetic and learn to consciously listen to the opinions of your team. Empathy does have it’s place in the workplace and its about you thoughtfully considering peoples feelings along with other factors you have to consider when making those conscious decisions.

Harness your inner MacGyver — When faced with challenges, adopt a creative mindset that allows you to really think outside the box. Don’t dismiss strategies you would have never considered previously. Remember your core objective, what you set out to acheive. When you identify a solution, don’t be afraid to put it into action. It doesn’t have to be pretty but it has to deliver on your goals.

Transparency is key — Your team will have lots of questions and even if you don’t have all the answers, you can share some of your thought processes about where your business is going and what’s happening. Encourage your team to ask questions, to think of solutions, garner their support. You don’t have to do this alone and they would really welcome being part of the process.

Communication is two way and both ways — The old adage you have two ears and one mouth goes a really, really long way! When it comes to communication, focus is often on what is being said. But the gold lies in what is not said. You have to be really cognizant of your listening skills -listen to the unspoken — What is your team telling you by what they’re not asking you?
Also make ensure you’re communicating at a level your team understands. You understand exactly what your strategy is going to be or what’s going to happen next because you’ve been creating your plan for a couple of weeks, but don’t expect your team to be on board straight away without you clearly communicating what’s expected, where they fit in, what the intended outcome is etc.

Embrace uncertainty — There’s a lot of things happening that are out of your control but will impact you. The world is changing, your business is operating differently, your competition is doing something different, your team and customers expect something different. The one thing that won’t be different is constant change. For you to be ahead of the curve you cannot fear that change. You have to be able to adapt and live with that uncertainty and know that it will play a huge part in what you’re doing. You have no control over the rate of change, but you do have control over how you respond.

Lastly, be unfraid to explore what’s coming next.

Janice Sutherland is an award winning women’s leadership expert and founder of This Woman Can an online community for professional women. She provides coaching and training specializing in helping women and organizations build leadership skills through Executive Mentorship, Leadership Training and Executive Team Facilitation for both corporate executives and entrepreneurs globally. She is a sought after keynote presenter for corporate and nonprofit environments and speaks on issues relating to leadership, women’s advancement, professional success and work/life alignment. For more details, visit www.janicesutherland.com

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An award winning women’s leadership expert and CEO of This Woman Can — career development for professional women of color.

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Janice Sutherland

Janice Sutherland

An award winning women’s leadership expert and CEO of This Woman Can — career development for professional women of color.

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