Your people are likely tired, uneasy, and not the most focused.  Add to that that they are dislocated.

How do you get the most from them in a time of crisis?  How do you get more discretionary effort than perhaps ever before, when you need all hands on deck?

First, give context and frame to the situation.  Tell them how their effort will matter to the overall picture.  Paint that portrait in detail.  And empathize and acknowledge that you see that things are upside down in their lives.  Ask how they’re managing.

And use some of the following questions during all-hands team meetings or just in conversation.  They’re some of my favorites during ordinary times and particularly useful now.

  • What do You Think? One of the most basic and one of the most powerful.  It tells team members that they matter, that you value their thinking, and, perhaps, most of all, that you expect it.
  • What Additional Support do You Need From Me? Your team might be a little frayed around the edges, but even if it aren’t, this question puts ownership on them to speak up for what they need and responsibility on you, their leader, to listen and see if you can’t deliver it.
  • What’s Going Well and How Can We Leverage It? If you’re leading, you likely have a lot of moving parts right now that you’re monitoring.  Revenue, cash flow, client retention, projections and forecasting, to name a few.  Your team members are able to see what you may not have the bandwidth to.  Ask them.
  • What Can We Be Doing Differently? Maybe it’s redundant work that can be eliminated or faster response time to customer inquiries, or more thorough client outreach and support right now.  No matter what it is, same as the previous: Ask them.

One of the remarkable things we’ve seen in the last few weeks is the resilience and adaptability that we possess as people and as professionals.  Tap that.


For more on working with me directly:   I work with CEOs and senior executives who are courageous, talented, successful, and want to make their mark.

New 90 Day Coaching Program.  Now is the time to be proactive.  There are urgent fires caused by this disruption that demand your time and there are the strategic priorities that need your considered and considerable attention.  I’m offering this 3 month program for those who need immediate guidance and support steering though these tumultuous times, professionally and personally.  I’ll be providing best practices for leading through uncertainty and a confidential sounding board on matters from revenue to remote work.  For more information:  Limited slots.