An English proverb says, “Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” It’s the idea that the right leaders will emerge or step up during times of crisis.
In numerous posts we have shared data substantiating the fact that the greatest work-related impact comes from our direct supervisor. So, it’s not just CEO’s or top management, but rather leaders at all levels that must step-up to help people during this time of need.
A March 23rd Gallup article reinforced this point. “The supervisor or manager is the key conduit…” the article stated. “Only the direct manager can know each employee’s situation, keep them informed, and adjust expectations, coaching and accountability to inspire high performance.”
The question then becomes, how might we lead and inspire employees during this pandemic that’s creating anxiety and uncertainty everywhere?
The article provided some straightforward guidelines. “Global citizens look to leadership to provide a path — and to provide confidence that there is a way forward that they can contribute to. In times of crisis, there are two directions human nature can take us: fear, helplessness and victimization — or self-actualization and engagement. On the latter, if leaders have a clear way forward, human beings are amazingly resilient.”
The piece went on to share meta-analytics, which have found four universal needs that followers have of their leaders:
“These needs are especially urgent during crises,” the article said. “People look for these traits in their leaders as a signal that their life will be OK and that they can be part of the solution.”
Surveys Say: Room for Improvement
Among the most important actionable organizational practices to address these four needs, Gallup listed the following along with the results of their most recent tracking:
- Identify a clear plan of action: When asked if their company leadership had a clear plan of action, 39% of U.S. employees strongly agreed that their employer had done so.
- Make sure people are prepared to do their jobs: When asked if they felt well-prepared to do their job, 54% strongly agreed.
- Orchestrate a plan for supervisors to keep people informed: When asked if their immediate supervisor was keeping them informed, 48% strongly agreed.
- Make sure employees know that the organization cares about their well-being. Gallup has found five elements of well-being that each organization can act on: career, social, financial, community and physical. When asked if their organization cared about their overall well-being, 45% strongly agreed.
This data might be useful to us all as we navigate our way forward during the COVID-19 crisis. It also shows there is room for improvement.
Read the full Gallup article.