Meeting someone for the first time and shaking their hand is a commitment. A promise made – your word. The handshake is a symbolic gesture where professional and personal worlds connect. At its core, it defines us. We no longer can shake hands during these times. What replaces the handshake, and will it return when the world returns to the new normal?
Since we have temporarily lost the handshake it is more important than ever to create a lasting impression and build strong relationships. So how do we do that especially when everyone is working from home and we are mostly connecting virtually?
Demonstrate Authentic Vulnerability – As leaders it is imperative to get into the operating reality and minds of our colleagues. To take the time to discuss how they are doing and find out what is happening in their lives.
Influence Under Stress – Remain mindful of the volume, tone, and speed of your delivery.
Do Not Make the Situation About You – People need compassionate leaders not heroes! Avoid taking credit and make sure you praise those that have been performing well and doing good work.
People Are Not the Same – Everyone has been affected in some way from this pandemic. People are reacting and behaving differently than they were before. We must practice empathy and take the time to offer support, guidance, and advice.
Visual Cues & Body Language – We are now focused on faces rather than body language. This makes it even more difficult to pick out social cues and behaviors. Now more than ever we need to be aware of our facial expressions and practice patience.
Communication is Key – If you do not provide your people with honest communications, they will be happy to fill in the blanks with their own worst-case scenarios! Practice a truthful, timely, straightforward management style.
Mindful Management – People are stressed, upset, tired, and feeling very rushed these days. Our workdays are bleeding into our home life and we no longer seem to celebrate a weekend! Be extremely mindful of your phrasing and the words that you choose to use. Rushing your delivery can be detrimental – especially now.
For now, elbow bump your way through your next meeting, make the most rewarding experiences through video conferences, and be mindful that everybody is going through something – so lend an ear.