Supporting teams in different stages of lockdown

Many of us lead or work with large teams split across regions, including some facing further lockdown measures, and others enjoying eased conditions. How do we best lead and motivate our people as they work across Australia’s changing pandemic landscape?

Social closeness and empathy are key elements of team cohesion and ultimately performance. If you’re part of a national team, you’ll see stark differences in the employee experience that has the potential to erode cohesion.

In regions experiencing lockdown, data from Assure Programs shows employees experience higher levels of fear, anxiety and stress. In regions less-impacted by COVID-19, team members may be resuming activities together in the workplace and enjoying pre-pandemic activities.

Lessons from global leadership

Studies into geographically and culturally diverse teams provide insights into maximising cohesion and performance for teams experiencing different circumstances.

  • Schedule time for empathy building – bring informal chats and check-ins into meetings and your day.
  • Actively support flexibility and engage in open discussions to build trust and confidence.
  • Show bounded optimism – recognise uncertainty and worries some may be feeling.
  • Lead by example – stress, fatigue and uncertainty build up and affect decision making. Self-care is critical.

Sources: McKinsey & Co and UC Davis Health.

Where to go for help and information

  • Promote your EAP program widely, and ask your provider for advice and support on how to manage this extraordinary situation
  • Do all you can to make your team feel safe – Safe Work Australia offers great resources