I interviewed 22 leaders about their leadership lessons during and beyond Covid-19 and summarized 7 key insights from these interviews. The fifth one is: Keep connecting people.
Leadership is more than achieving your targets, it is also about connecting with people and taking care of them. The stronger the connections are between people, the easier it is for an organization to weather a setback and keep its agility.
It is harder to retain strong connections and have a meaningful exchange when working from home and interacting online.
Leaders need to empathize and ask: “How are you? How can I help you?” and then listen carefully and sincerely to the answers they get. They need to take care of the physical and mental well-being of employees. They also need to acknowledge that times have been tough for many people. Some did that by sending a small gift and/or a hand-written note to some of their staff.
People will refrain from going to the office on a regular basis until it feels safe again. And once that does resume, future working arrangements will become more flexible. The new office will become a place where people only come for meaningful exchanges. The self-evident meeting place of the office will all but disappear.
Working from home will remain normal for at least one or two days a week, reducing overall commuting time and the need to accommodate all the workers at once. With this perspective, some companies are already reducing their office space to cut costs. Some of those organizations are investing part of the cost-savings in other employee experiences that reinforce the connections between colleagues.