COVID-19 has required us to make rapid and multiple changes to the way we work and leaders have been expected to adapt quickly and support their teams.
This can seem overwhelming to managers and supervisors, who are trying their best to absorb loads of advice, and massage that information into some form of behavioural action in a sustainable way.
What leaders need is a low-risk, high-impact behavioural response.
That is why we have developed this training program on The Power Of Routine Check-In Conversations.
One of the most practical ways that leaders can support employees impacted by COVID-19 is to conduct one on one, routine, semi-structured check-in conversations with their direct reports.
In simple terms, regularly asking them how they are and what they need?
This takes the pressure out of trying to predict what people need and reduces mental effort, as suggestions and solutions come from the conversation process.
Consultation enables relationships and drives success.
We suggest you collaborate with your team on a small set of questions to share during check-ins. Questions they can reflect on, and prepare answers for ready for the consultation process. Simple questions like:
Make sure you outline sources of support, such as the EAP. You could also offer to create an individual support plan with or for them. Always document your conversations and follow up on agreed actions.
If you feel you have too many direct reports to provide regular check-ins, then we suggest a buddy-system and peer- to-peer mentoring, so that no one is left for too long without the benefits of this ‘reflective and solution- focused’ process.
The check-in conversation might be extended, during times of challenge or change, by a quick ‘ready-to-work’ dashboard, such as:
This structured check-in is critical leadership behaviour which has multiple benefits. This includes:
During check-ins, there’s the possibly of strong emotions arising – such as anxiety, frustration, distress and or grief.
A focused and compassionate way of defusing emotions and discovering the main issue – is the L.E.A.D.S. method, which strikes a balance between listening first and then collaborative problem-solving.
LEADS stands for Listen, Empathise, Ask, & Discuss Steps
Listen with your full attention. Show them that you’re listening. If in doubt, check for understanding
Empathise with their feelings using simple phrases of acknowledgment and reassurance
Ask questions to clarify what they want, need and expect to happen (this also defuses emotions)
Discuss the issue at hand, take your time and share solutions in a 2-way process
Step out what action you both can and will take and always follow up later
It helps to be able to recognise the signs of mental health issues & declining wellbeing in your employees. General signs you may want to look out for include:
Signs of disengaged employees include:
Signs of professional Burnout include:
Signs of trouble in teams/workplaces include:
If you notice any of these signs emerging, you are in the strongest position to positively influence a mentally healthy workplace.
There are a multitude of things you can do including:
Good luck with it all!
More information on mental health and wellbeing for managers in the workplace is available in our latest series.