Our World, our workspace, our habits, even our vocabulary has changed due to the pandemic.  Don’t bother looking for the User Manual – it doesn’t exist.  There is a lot we cannot control right now.  Fortunately, there is a great deal that we can and should control.

Start with yourself.  Set your focus in a positive direction.  Put your energy towards what you can do, especially those things that you can do really well.  While I certainly admire the people who have learned to knit while quarantined, I’m not sure that is an activity that would serve me well. 

Turning your focus outward, you are not truly isolated. Your behavior and your words still have an impact.  Before you send that email or share a post, use Socrates’ three filters: Is it True? Is it Good? Is it Useful? You have been given a unique opportunity to inspire your team and your co-workers with clarity and calm. Don’t waste it.

Do not ignore people’s emotions.  They are real, and they are legitimate.  You may need to adjust your leadership style to meet people’s needs. What people will remember most is how you treated them.  Try to have a verbal or video chat with each person daily.  Email and IM cannot give you a true sense of someone’s state of mind.  Encourage team members to contact each other regularly.

It is OK and beneficial to maintain your sense of humor, and to have social interactions from afar. The little things matter.  Let your team know that you are there for them, that you remembered their birthday, that you believe in them.  And of course, please wash your hands.