COVID-19 has brought feelings of anxiety and fear when navigating everyday life. Most industries have opened up and continue to operate, despite this being under different circumstances. This is because as much as we are in a pandemic, the people, and the economy of South Africa are suffering as a result of the virus and need to be revived. However, this doesn’t take away the idling feelings of uncertainty, fear and resultant anxiety.
Leadership are able to rise to the challenge to assist employees to navigate the juxtaposition of being back at work and interacting with so many individuals, but also living in a pandemic that requires constant washing of hands, sanitising and practising social distancing within the same space. Its back to business, yet in some workplaces there are employees that have not yet been able to return to work due to comorbidities.
There’s no doubt that managers and leaders are and will continue to lead and navigate their organisations through this pandemic, however, that alone may not be enough. More often than not they may be required to deal with and manage anxiety and fear, not only their own, but also that of their staff and stakeholders as this will go a long way towards boosting the morale and improving productivity levels.
In any situation, and especially now, honesty can alleviate any uncertainty and anxiety employees may be experiencing. We are already living in uncertain times. It would be beneficial to the wellbeing of the employees (which in turn reflects in their work) if honesty is practice in the organisation. For example, if budget cuts are being implemented, it’s important to be as up front as possible. Ambiguity can be extremely unsettling.
Consistent Reliable Fact-Based Communications:
When sending out communications within the company, it is important to ensure that the information is fact-based, clear and from credible sources. This could be anything from a slight change in company processes and procedures, or a communication from the government regarding the lockdown restrictions or new information about the virus. This will limit panic and uncertainty within the organisation.
The nationwide statistics for Corona Virus infections are increasing, and getting closer. The probability of positive COVID-19 cases being reported in any organisation, are rising. Having an employee who is mourning the loss of a loved one due to the Corona virus, or an employee having to take time off to care for a family member who has tested positive for the virus, is becoming more likely if not frequent. Management needs to be cognisant of this new reality, by being understanding when an employee needs some time off or needs to work from home to assist loved ones. Research has indicated that empathy is not a common trait amongst many leaders, however, now would be the time to boost empathy within management.
Flexibility & Adaptability:
We are all living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. A time that nobody truly knows how to navigate or handle, nor what the new challenge to be navigated will be. We are dealing with a virus that scientists are continuously researching and discovering new information about. This means that it’s basically trial and error for everyone involved, from management down to the employees. Companies, much like government, are forced to implement procedures and processes that they were never prepared for. Adjusting and adapting to these new changes, will assist organisations and employees during these trying times and will go a long way towards boosting loyalty towards the organisation and its leaders.
As we move forward, it is also important to know one’s limits or areas for development as a leader. The situation is new to all of us, therefore acknowledging that the information on hand is not always enough to formulate an accurate answer to a specific question is imperative. Requesting assistance, where needed, is vital. Be humble enough to be open to and accommodate different viewpoints, depending on the circumstances. It is also important that leaders admit that they don’t always know everything, but to also take the time to acquire the much needed resources or information.
MISA is here to assist our members to “Rise to the Challenge” through the support we provide as well as the benefits available to our members.
MISA – Just a phone call or an e-mail away!
Kindly utilise the following e-mail addresses and links for assistance during this time:
Employer UIF/TERS Submissions UIFClaim@ms.org.za
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