My job was to help the workers find ways to make their interactions with the people affected as positive as possible. Despite the unpleasant circumstances.
The workers were all competent and experienced people. Many of them had first-hand knowledge of the lifestyle and businesses of the people they were dealing with. Some had even been directly affected themselves by the problem being addressed.
We all worked together to put ourselves into the shoes of the people being affected. We asked the question: ‘How would I want to be dealt with if I was in that situation?’
Three insights came out of our discussions. Insights that are useful for all of us when we are dealing with others in challenging times and situations (like leading a team through Covid 19.).
- Let me know what is going on
If times are tough I need you to be honest with me—tell me the truth. Be transparent and provide me with factual, accurate information. Give me clarity by communicating well and often.
- Treat me well
Respect me, show me empathy and demonstrate a recognition of what I am experiencing. Be supportive, helpful and be patient. And most importantly, listen. Let me be heard.
- Let me be part of the solution
Work with me. Let me know what options and choices I have. What autonomy can I exercise, what can I control. What plan, process or timeline can I work with? What actions can I take?
Those insights might seem obvious when we see them in a list. Their value lies in action - putting them into practice consistently when times are tough.