A Leader's Support in Times of Need
Supporting others is an essential leadership skill. Now more than ever, offering support, in any form, is so desperately needed.
Over the past three years, people all over the world have faced severe challenges stalling their personal development. COVID_19 pandemic, police brutality, various elections, the recent war in Ukraine and its ramifications have all caused major concerns. These challenges are in addition to ongoing issues of climate change, earthquakes, fires, tsunamis and civil unrest experienced in many countries.
The legendary Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs described five stages of human needs, satisfying these stages results in high motivation levels. The basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid must be satisfied first before working up to self-fulfillment needs where performance excels. As shown in the Figure below, our recent global challenges have
affected the fundamental stages of human needs.
Leaders can no longer afford to ignore societal and political factors because such factors impact employee wellbeing and state of mind. Leaders are expected to make intentional efforts to address external factors affecting employee performance.
There are many ways leaders can show support for their employees. Below are suggestions of three focus areas to consider:
1. Policies and Benefits
Leaders should take the opportunity to revise, and potentially revamp, internal policies to counter today’s challenges. These might include accommodating hybrid work, offering flexi work hours, extended PTO, emergency leave, mental health benefits, fuel reimbursements, access to high internet bandwidth, monetarizing perks …etc.
Offers can vary from one organization to another. It might be worthwhile asking employees to submit their recent challenges, then offer custom solutions to address their specific needs.
2. Work Environment
Coaching is an essential leadership skill. Good leaders coach and regularly check-in with their employees to see how they are coping. Coaching discussions could be on a personal level, a professional level or an intersection of the two.
Check-ins are not means to micromanage, spy or intimidate employees. They are tools to uplift employees and help them achieve their goals in their own way. Thus, employees determine the frequency and format of check-in discussions for themselves. Once set, they schedule the sessions with their respective coach.
3. Work Relations
This would be a good time for leaders to focus their efforts on diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging. Leaders need to dedicate sufficient resources to implement DIE&B initiatives as suggested by the organization’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). All initiatives in this space must be measured for effectiveness and adjusted accordingly.
Our October 2020 blog, “Leadership is not a title, it is a conduct”, talked about behavior being a choice. Every person decides for themselves how they wish to behave knowing their conduct forms their legacy. Choosing to support others is a great trait to be known for and feeds the soul with goodness.