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COVID-19: Manage Your Team While Social Distancing

The Covid-19 virus has disrupted and rearranged the workplace with breathtaking speed. In the span of a week, organizations across every sector have sent millions of employees home to work remotely. Without warning — and in many cases, without preparation of any kind — managers have been thrust into the position of leading virtual teams, many for the first time.

It’s challenging enough to manage yourself in quarantine without face-to-face human interaction and the structure of a typical workday. Now add to that the task of managing a team under those conditions, especially when you’ve never done it before. It’s daunting.

Under quarantine, every aspect of the manager’s role is magnified and complicated. You’ll need to reset expectations for how work gets done and adapt your management style to a new context. To help managers in these trying times, here are some recommendations for supporting continued learning and the emotional well-being of your employees:

- reset your expectations

- stay in regular touch

- support continued learning but keep it short

- assign buddies and peer coaches to add a layer of mutual support

- interpret tone and voice as proxies for face-to-face feedback

- model optimism and drain the team of fear

- update even if there is no update

- continually gauge stress and engagement levels

Psychological safety is paramount even under conditions of quarantine. When you create and sustain these conditions you allow team members to continue to perform and contribute, and perhaps, most importantly at a time like this, you acknowledge their humanity.

To read the full HBR article, please click here.

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