How to lead successful teams in challenging times
By: Jodi Zigelstein-Yip, Chief HR Innovator and Founder at Enliven HR Consulting Inc.
As the pandemic continues to take a toll across the globe, we can’t help but turn our attention to the impact that it is having on our teams, their families, our organizations, and our communities.
We have seen people suffering in the last several months more than we have seen likely in our entire careers. You probably have team members who have been affected by COVID, are experiencing increased mental health concerns, have decided to go on a leave, or who have left your organization all together.
Set your team up well for 2022. Start by making a plan to lead differently, with a new outlook and a fresh perspective.
For leaders, starting the New Year off with the right attitude and mindset can hopefully bring you and your teams from a state of exhaustion, disengagement, and an overwhelming feeling of having just enough, to a more positive, engaged and happy state.
Four Success Drivers to Follow
Leaders, you can get on the right path with four success drivers to help create more normalcy and a sense of security for teams.
Conduct an Employee Opinion Survey.
Gain perspective from those working in your organization by asking:
- What do they need from the organization right now?
- What do they need from their leader, their peers?
- What is their overall attitude towards feeling valued?
- Do they feel you create a positive and inclusive environment where their perspectives are valued?
Find out if your team is at risk of leaving. The only way to find out this highly valuable information is to ask the right questions and act on what you uncover. Then, you can create a plan to close the gaps you’ve identified and conduct an Employee Pulse Survey (a quick check-in) every quarter.
These pulse surveys give employees a voice throughout the year and ensure their well-being continues to be safeguarded by your organization.
Look at the talent within your organization.
Assess both what work is getting accomplished and how people are accomplishing that work. Look for the gaps. What areas do you need to be focusing on in 2022?
Consider the potential of team members.
Think about their development, what they want to learn and areas they wish to grow. This can come through formal development planning programs, mentoring opportunities, job experience, stretch projects, secondments and other means. There are many ways to develop talent; think creatively.
Invest in ‘People Leaders’.
Since the start of the pandemic, we are seeing more and more organizations invest in developing People Leaders (anyone who leads others in your organization).
We know that trained People Leaders can attract, engage, develop, and retain team members better than those who have not been formally trained. In fact, only 27 to 29% of People Leaders are successful when promoted into leadership roles from individual contributor roles when they are not formally trained. That is a scary statistic!
People Leaders need to be invested in. They are the ones keeping your organization running and struggling to rise to the occasion. By now, they are exhausted and conveying their displeasure more than ever. We must pay attention to what they need and where they are struggling.
Currently, we are seeing organizations focus on building the following competencies in People Leaders. How to:
- effectively coach and provide feedback;
- display empathy and inspire, empower and motivate others;
- lead change;
- resolve conflict effectively;
- leverage strengths of the team and value the differences that team members bring to the workplace;
- build their presence as a credible, trustworthy, and engaging leader;
- and manage their stress levels and their overall energy.
Show care and concern.
Retention is not always about the paycheck. It’s about creating an environment for people where they feel safe and secure. Inspiring a sense of loyalty is about the relationships we build daily with one another. It is about the opportunities to connect and collaborate.
Meet with team members one-on-one and meet as a team often.
Make time for connections such as virtual lunches together, or quick calls just to laugh and keep things light-hearted. Pick up the phone from time to time just to say hello.
Create opportunities for fun.
You may remember that at the beginning of the pandemic, organizations were big on team building activities and checking in frequently. Then, people got Zoom and Microsoft Teams fatigue, so we slowed down those fun activities that brought teams together.
We need to reinvigorate activities that make sense for the team. Get their ideas on what they want to do. Ask them about Yoga days, exercise classes, walk clubs, book clubs, etc.
Identify your flight risks.
Look into why people may be leaving your organization. Prepare for turnover by thinking about succession and who you can upskill to take over for someone who may leave.
Assess your internal talent often.
Look at the skill sets you already have and continue to build talent where you can. There is not always a need to buy talent from the outside. Some of our best talent is already within our organizations.
Consider how you are attracting talent.
What makes your organization special? How are you conveying the employee value proposition to the outside world? How are you conveying your values internally to your team?
Spend 2022 thinking about your brand and how to attract talent to your organization. The market is competitive, and how you brand your organization can set you apart from others.
Don’t shy away from hiring talent with international experience.
If a candidate does not have Canadian experience, that does not mean they are not perfectly suited to your organization. To ensure you maintain a bias-free process, interview all candidates using an interview guide (the same set of questions). Evaluate candidates using a sophisticated, yet simple competency scale that helps you maintain objectivity throughout the process.
Set your team up well in 2022. Get back to the basics of focusing on the team: building, developing, engaging and retaining the people who power your organization. Make this a year of re-grouping your team, re-focusing on yourself as a leader, and getting your mindset ready to lead effectively into what is likely going to be another challenging year ahead.
Ready to take the next step and lead your team successfully in 2022?
Take advantage of this ONPHA member-exclusive deal!
Enliven HR Consulting partners with clients to build the best places to work through integrated and sustainable HR strategies and solutions. As an ONPHA Select partner, they offer up to a 30% discount on all the HR consulting work they perform for ONPHA members.
This includes everything you need to develop a strong team and succeed in 2022: talent and executive acquisition, succession planning, employee engagement, leader and talent development, and much more.
Find out how Enliven HR Consulting can help your community housing team thrive.