To lead your team compassionately and inclusively during these extraordinary times, what are some of the most important things you can do?
Read about the 10 evidence-based behaviours for leading through COVID-19 and join an online, interactive Leadership Support Circle, designed to support those with responsibility for managing others.
10 evidenced-based behaviours for leading through COVID-19
1. Look after yourself
You are not super-human! Who’s got your back? Where is your space to recharge and make sense of the chaos? Paying attention to your own wellbeing will maximise your ability to help patients and colleagues through the crisis.
2. Speak candidly and compassionately
To be prepared for what is to come, people need a clear sense of direction and your full and clear assessment of the situation. Balancing your frankness with empathy is essential when your team is under pressure.
3. Set the emotional tone
Don’t under-estimate the impact on your team of your actions and the way you come across. Your calm confidence will have a powerful influence.
4. Be inclusive in the way you lead
This crisis is highlighting how healthcare inequalities and biases persist, and even become magnified, in pressurised conditions. Consciously and actively inclusive leadership matters now more than ever.
5. Maintain routines
Teams who are newly formed and are under pressure need stability. Robust routines for starting and finishing shifts, for instance, can do a lot to ground, induct and connect team members who don’t know each other and may be feeling a range of emotions.
6. Give yourself space to make the right call
To make hard decisions in the heat of the moment, you will need to be both rational and intuitive: STOP-BREATHE- REFLECT-CHOOSE. Just a brief moment’s pause will allow you to reconnect with your purpose and values.
7. Create safe spaces
Share your own vulnerability. Let your team know that it’s OK to ‘wobble’, to experience doubt, grief or fear. They will need times and physical spaces to de-stress. They will also need to feel safe to offer constructive challenge to ways of working regardless of hierarchy.
8. Encourage everyone to talk
…and to keep talking.
Crisis situations get worse and last longer without continuous, open and inclusive communication. And the hardest part can be attentive listening when the pressure is on.
9. Look out for your team
Look out, in particular, for those driving themselves beyond reasonable limits, those team members who withdraw and seem to reject offers of help, and for those who might feel excluded from the team.
10. Acknowledge the hurt
Being a compassionate leader means empathising with the pain your people may experience, recognising that it may endure and take action. We have a diverse workforce and inclusive leaders recognise the equally diverse spectrum of issues that colleagues face due to their different backgrounds, workload and current restrictions and offer support accordingly.
Evidence base: Specialist task force and The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Centre for Army Leadership)