• Manu Mohan

It is in time of Crisis that good leaders emerge!

It’s easier to identify leaders at the time of a crisis!

Post 9/11, the US government ordered all airlines to ground their flights for a few days. Imagine all those passengers, flight attendants, pilots, and ground crews stranded across the country after those terrorist attacks. The CEO of southwest airlines made a bold move. Unlike Competitors, Southwest’s leadership encouraged employees to leverage their trademark fun approach to help customers enjoy themselves at the movies or bowling alleys, etc.

This #COVID19 pandemic has been an opportunity for leaders to step up across the org. From a team perspective, some managers have taken a stricter time-bound approach to meetings, standups, and status update calls, some have kept a more flexible approach of reaching out to individual team members as per daily routines. Frankly, it depends upon the kind of team you are managing to ascertain which style suits better but do ask yourself if you are really Listening to your team! Do not burn the team because you as a manager aren’t able to manage them well! Empathy has been trending as the most important skill of 21st century and for good reasons. Some steps taken by us at Disney+hotstar :

1. No specific timings for Standups and status updates. We leverage Slack way more now. Standups are kept based on each days and individual's availability. Now it adds more work for a manager but eventually helps the team is happier and relaxed. We observed that slowly, trust is built and there were no leakages

2. Take an hour off a week, where we just zoom in and talk anything but work.

This was natural when working from the office and it goes a long way in keeping a chiller environment. Your team is working while there is a pandemic going on. None of us are meeting friends. Make the most of our bonds and build them if they don't exist.

3. Teams have been asked to book calendars for lunch and breaks. This ensures, everyone is taking some breaks while WFH. Many a time we (especially analysts and other industries which work in front of a laptop) forget to take a break while #WFH. This is exhausting and burns down people.

4. Another golden rule has been starting meetings 5 mins later than usuals. Eg: Our meetings start at 6.05 instead of 6 PM. Hard to explain the value of those 5mins, but it has been such a breathing space! While mentally people ready themself for the usual 6'0 clock, when they come in, everybody gets 5 mins breathing space!

As a rule of thumb, always give your team the benefit of the doubt! They are all working hard for you! Acknowledge it!

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