On March 11, 2020, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) officially reached pandemic status. As a multifamily leader, you are facing a crisis unlike any other in your lifetime. Even the challenges presented by the 9/11 attacks do not equal those faced by managers today. As horrendous as 9/11 was, it brought people together. Conversely, COVID-19 is isolating them.
Leadership Communication During Isolation: When Face-to-Face Is Not an Option
Employees are being sent home to work. In some cases, it is simply because there is no work. Many find themselves separated not only from co-workers but, also, the leaders to whom they look up. In a remote worker environment, there’s no opportunity for managers to go office to office, desk to desk, showing employees the compassion and confidence. This personal touch can help get them, and the company, through a crisis. The most valuable tool that leaders had in the post 9/11 business environment—the opportunity to assure others with their physical presence—simply does not exist when a workforce is virtual.
Good communication is always important to a company’s success, but in turbulent times, it’s an imperative.
Frequent, Informative, Truthful Communication
Multifamily leaders need to send frequent, informative, and truthful messages now more than ever. The information sharing tools we use on a regular basis, such as email, can help keep remote employees informed and on track. However, emails aren’t effective at alleviating feelings of isolation…no matter how well crafted. A much better approach is one that not only informs but provides each associate with a much-needed sense of community and connection: video conferencing. This technology makes it possible for you to have a conversation with your audience via webcam—the next best thing to being genuinely face-to-face. Most platforms allow for interactivity such as real-time commenting, calls to action, polling, and live chat. You can now deliver content in real time and to any device. And, broadcasts can be recorded and archived for employees to view at their convenience.
Leadership Communication During Isolation: Deliver Messaging with Kindness and Compassion
Video conferencing delivered regularly with kindness and compassion for the numerous challenges, both professional and personal, that your multifamily teams are now facing, can help you maintain connectivity with teams and keep those important lines of communication open. Don’t worry about how your work environment looks, how much the camera loves you, or how clumsy you may be at working the video conferencing tool. You’re not a news anchor. No one expects you to be a pro at this. Instead, your team will take comfort in your humanity and your humility.
Instill Confidence and Optimism
Your challenge is way bigger than just keeping associates informed during this crisis. Your job is to instill confidence, optimism, and a sense of shared purpose across a network of employees. Turn on your webcam, connect with your people, and the work will follow. And finally, as I always say, keep the faith. We’ll get through this together.