Quick Tips #1 - Five Ways to Provide Empathetic Leadership During the COVID-19 Crisis

Written by Injoy Global Co-Founder & COO, Jeff Baietto on May 7, 2020

There are many concerns we all have running our businesses in the unprecedented era of COVID-19. Drops in sales, loss of customers and distribution nightmares to name a few. But perhaps most important of all is the potential impact to our own employees’ welfare and mental health.

Which is why now more than ever it is important to lead with empathy. Your employees are all stressed like never before – and who can blame them? But here are five ways you can help reduce their worries, solidify your reputation as a leader – and sustain your corporate culture.

1. Be understanding of personal circumstances – not everyone will have the same remote work environment. Some may be caring for young children – or older parents. Others may simply have difficulty adjusting to a non-office world.

Remember, working remote is unchartered territory for many of your employees.  And the fact that they have to learn how to do it in the middle of a global pandemic is only going to add to their stress. A little understanding and compassion will go a long way.

2. Support your employees’ emotional health. It is important to acknowledge life is anything but normal these days – and that employees should take time to take care of themselves as well as their work responsibilities. 

This can be a challenge, as your employees are likely worrying about their families, their health – and even their own jobs. Empathetic leaders should encourage employees them to meditate, get physical exercise – or even consciously practice gratitude on a daily basis.

3. Be a role model – Employees will take their cue from the top. If you expect your staff to remain focused, responsive and optimistic, then you must constantly exhibit that behavior yourself.

Openly supporting your employees – and commending them on their hard work will encourage everyone in your company to do so. Maintaining a positive corporate culture is a challenge in any environment. But doing so under such challenging circumstances will largely rest with you.

4. Promote a work-life balance. One downside of the technology that supports remote work is that it can make feel like, well, you are always at work. This can make it difficult for some employees to walk away from the job or take time off.

Sadly, this can lead to employees burning out and actually becoming less productive, even though they may be “working” more hours. Encourage employees to set boundaries, stick to a regular schedule – and take time for leisure or family activities.

5. Stay connected to employees – and not just through endless Zoom meetings. Make sure you reach out to as many people personally during this crisis to encourage them, bolster their spirits – or just thank them for their hard work and perseverance.

Remember, the COVID-19 crisis will not last forever. But the impressions you give to your employees, customers and partners during this time of adversity most definitely will.

A strong and positive corporate culture should be based on trust and empathy. And the COVID-19 crisis is a time when you should double down on those emotions. Many may claim that adversity can build one’s character. But the truth is, as American novelist James Lane Allen once said, “Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it.”

The COVID-19 crisis may well be the ultimate test of your corporate culture. But leading with empathy is a great way to ensure your culture passes this test with flying colors.

We’ll get through this.


P.S. Please share your own tips or suggestions on what you are doing with your teams in the comments below.
Jeff Baietto
Injoy Global, COO + Co-Founder

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