As part of Angela’s ongoing work with local organisation, FEO, she recently penned her thoughts on how businesses begin to bring their temas back together after the ongoing pandemic:
Anyone in need of a boost of confidence right now? Confidence in future income, in your team, your capacity, your working practices, and most importantly in the health and safety of your colleagues and yourselves? Whilst entering into this Covid 19 inclusive future, how can we manage the challenges ahead without confidence?
The far reaching implications in the working world are difficult to really grasp right now, but what I do know is that there isn’t a day (sometimes an hour) that goes by that I do not learn of a new consequence for some person, business or industry. Can we ever understand the enormity of the impact that this virus has had and will have on our world, not just the working world?
Having now identified that confidence may be in question; perhaps for the purpose of business owners we can look at this from two perspectives, the employer and the employee, and maybe find some middle ground.
As leaders in our organisations it may be an expectation for us to have all the answers, and of course in this instance we don’t, nobody does, so how can we learn too? My answer to this is to ‘work together’, you and your teams. After all you chose these teams, you utilise their skills, you value them and might I suggest they value you too! You train and develop them, you protect their health, safety and wellbeing and you pay them to add value to your businesses. Talk to them, confide in them, share your concerns, ask them for help and advice, this is a two way street and many ideas, thoughts and comments far surpass any individual ones.
Having listened to a webinar recently when the HSE described the need for employee consultation during the writing of your Covid 19 risk assessment, they quite simply referred to employees being exactly the ones who DO have all the answers. Given that they are on the ground, working systems, surely they are best placed to identify risk and suggest good practice – this, in my view applies to all business functions. Whilst as leaders we have a sound knowledge in all aspects of our companies, our team members ARE the experts in their areas, their input matters, so please use it and trust it!
Employees will also be experiencing their own confidence issues presently. Personally, they are quite frankly scared for the health and safety of their families, and that I believe is their priority. However they are also worried for their working lives, their access to income to provide for their loved ones. The ‘normal world’ provided a support mechanism, be it family support or what we have considered previously to be basics, like education and childcare, and without warning it has gone! No assurances are at hand relating to the health risk being reduced with no working vaccine available, so it is any wonder that their confidence has suffered?
Then of course they have to travel to work safely and when they get there, they are concerned that their working conditions are not safe (concerned not just for themselves but for their families) and so this question of confidence continues.
In my opinion, here is the common ground for leaders and their teams. This is an opportunity for an increase in confidence for all, and this is to communicate with clarity with each other, collaborate. Ideas that have come from a team create pride and a sense of purpose and affiliation. Encouragement from ‘both sides’ to get through this crisis together will not only have a positive impact on your organisation but it will be remembered forever. We must also acknowledge that there have been pluses in this awful time, when we have developed personal and professional relationships. Times when people have stepped up, you should see this as a foundation to build on, realise the value of each other.
Of course this is not a universal rule, there will be some of these relationships that will be more difficult to create opportunities from, but if you try then you know you have done your best. Realistically some of these relationships will have to fall by the wayside, but perhaps in the long term, it will strengthen your team and re build the confidence moving into the road of recovery, a road that we are all craving for! – Communication, Collaboration and Confidence are everything!