Fear is paralyzing… It stops us from bringing our full self to work.

It increases tension, decreases collaboration, and wreaks havoc on progress/productivity.

It doesn’t have to be that way! There is a simple (albeit, not necessarily easy) strategy to use these experiences to increase…

  • Trust,
  • Collaboration,
  • Commitment, and
  • Productivity/Profitability, especially during the most challenging of times.

Fears of the coronavirus are ripe ground for renewed levels of engagement, productivity, and collaboration… IF you lean into it.

If, as many leaders will do, you ignore (or simply find yourself annoyed with) the fears, you will miss out.

RIGHT Now is the time to open the floor for honest conversations, to allow fears to be Shared (without negative judgements or criticism) and addressed with kindness and understanding.

Whether it’s “right” or “wrong,” people (and perhaps a few on Your Team) are scared… the media does a remarkable job provoking fears…

— the stock market is crashing… I might lose my $

— will I still have my job?

— will my spouse, mother, father, brother… lose their jobs? Will I have to take care of them?

— what if I (my family or friends) get the virus? Are their immune systems strong enough?

— what if…

So Many, Many fears are stifling your teams ability to Think, Create, and Produce. It’s not their “fault” … it’s human nature.

The good news is that You Can head off the fear. Here’s how—

Precursor to the steps:

Remember that your job is to help your team members bring their full self to work, and to help them Work Together with greater ease. You are not responsible for their feelings, their solace, or the stories they make up. You are responsible To them, but not For them.

7 Simple Steps:

  1. Bring your team together (online or in person).
  1. Let them know that you understand there are many fears around this coronavirus, and that such fears can easily cripple people and teams.
  1. Let them know that it Can Also Become a way of Deepening Trust and connections between each other and those closest to you.
  1. Set the stage by establishing a timeframe (30 minutes might be plenty) for the conversation, and then set the ground rules — “No criticisms, this is a safe place for fears to be aired, and Solutions to be considered.” (Some fears have no solutions, they just need to be aired).
  1. Reflect back what you’re hearing them say (don’t parrot, just reflective the gist of what you heard)— no solutions are necessarily needed… being heard is More Important.
  1. Make sense of it all… “Your fears make sense (even if they don’t necessarily make sense to you), and we’re going to get through this together.”
  1. Appreciate them for sharing and ask if there’s anything you can do to help.

The key here is to Listen, Listen, Listen, and reflect back what you’re hearing. Don’t try to fix it (you probably cannot). Allow solutions to emerge, and trust to deepen as a result.

Ultra brave bonus step: share your fears around it (or the ones that you hear in those closest to you. This demonstrates your humanity and makes it easier for others to Trust You with their fears.

Do this and Know that trust is being deepened (inside of you, and your team). Trust is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and open sharing (collaboration).

So— USE this global FearFest (its better than just about any team building exercise you can do) to your advantage by strengthening Your ability for open, honest conversations. Doing so leads to improved results in every area of business.

Nothing competes with Trust, and few experiences provide such a ripe ground for trust to deepen.

I’d love to hear how You Use This Experience to your advantage for the greater good of all. Please share your stories with me below.

Here’s to Your Greatness,

Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister has been empowering leaders with the confidence to have candid conversations for nearly 20 years, increasing engagement and productivity across generations. Help your team reach its highest potential at https://MistiBurmeister.com