BY NICOLE TUGANO
On any given day, we live in an increasingly complex world that’s constantly changing. It’s becoming more difficult to anticipate events or predict how they’ll unfold, and it’s rare for things to be precisely determinable. Now, the already volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) nature of our everyday world has suddenly been escalated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this time, many managers will be grappling with how to best support their team and enhance the wellbeing of their employees, especially when working remotely. Nicole Tugano, People and Culture Manager at WT and Positive Psychology Teacher at Melbourne University takes us through some key tips on how to enhance the wellbeing of your team during COVID-19.
Look out for yourself
First and foremost, it is crucial for leaders to maintain a positive and productive mindset to effectively lead others. With most of us working from home, it is important to set and stick to a routine. Getting properly dressed, eating at regular mealtimes and going to bed at the same time each night will kick your brain into gear and enhance productivity. Exercising every day is also vital – even just a quick walk outside to get some fresh air.
Take this extra time to also refocus your mind – catch unproductive thoughts such as ‘this is so unfair’, or ‘things will never return to the way they were’. Making a conscious effort to think positively and practise a growth mindset will make a world of difference to the way you lead and encourage others. Ask yourself – what am I grateful for today? What expectation of ‘normal’ am I letting go of today?
Look out for others
During a time where face-to-face interaction is significantly limited, making an intentional effort to regularly connect with your team has never been so important. Ensure that you are not only having daily team meetings, but also checking in with others one-on-one. Prioritise frequency over duration – you don’t need to be having lengthy chats every day, just regular catchups that will allow your team to come to you with any questions or concerns. Being present and attentive will give others a sense of psychological safety in order to open up and be honest about how they’re going, allowing you to understand what support and tools they need at this time.
Dedicating time for casual social interaction is also very important. We are social creatures by nature, so shifting from seeing your co-workers nearly every day to working in solitude can affect you and your team more than you may realise. Combat this social distance by scheduling a regular end-of-the-week drink or mid-week catch-up with your team, during which discussing work is not the primary focus.
Lead from a zone of growth, not a zone of fear
During this time of uncertainty and stress, it’s important to pause and consider your mindset when leading others through COVID 19. Many leaders with a negative mindset will sit in the fear zone. These are managers who complain frequently about COVID-19, are quick to anger and who spread fear throughout their team, whether they mean to or not. However, if leaders choose to shift their mindset to one of learning and acceptance, the benefits will be felt by their whole team. To do this, leaders learn to let go of what they can’t control, communicate clearly with their team, and properly evaluate new information about COVID-19 before they spread it to others.
The most effective way to enhance the wellbeing of your team is to move to a zone of growth. Managers should be looking for creative and agile ways to adapt to our new situation, and how they can best utilise the skills of their team to overcome these hurdles. Throughout this VUCA world, leaders who practice self-care, look out for others and lead from a zone of growth will be agents of positive change for their team, ultimately enhancing wellbeing and boosting productivity.