The other day a fellow CEO told me about another CEO who found their staff camaraderie suffered because of telecommuting. He said that lack of regular contact took its toll on their organizational culture. That was a lesson that he took to heart, especially in this day of social distancing. We don’t have a choice about where we are physically located at this time, but we do have a choice about whether or not we will make an impact on those we are in contact with, even virtually.
During this COVID reality, you can’t necessarily be with the people on your team, but you can still reach out to them. Your good intentions don’t have to shelter in place.
Your organizational culture will likely suffer because your people don’t have regular human contact with each other. You will need to be intentional about the contact you do have with your team in order to make up for that loss of face-to-face interaction.
Don’t forget to be human when social distancing. In a COVID world, here are some ways to make an impact on those you can’t physically have around you.
Give someone a call when you are thinking about them. Just the other day my high school best friend Andrew Stockey called me out of the blue. We hadn’t connected in several months and it was great to hear from him. He called just to find out how I was doing. When I said I was surprised to hear from him, he said, “But you’re my friend.”
To make the connections that you would ordinarily have in the hallway, it’s important to be intentional about your interactions. And don’t make it just about work. Express an interest in them as people.
If your relationship with your team is only related to work, then you are missing out on an opportunity to make an impact in their lives.
When someone on your team does something well, reach out to them and let them know. You can send them an email and copy others so that you can share their success with the whole team. Or you can call them and tell them personally. Either—or both—will make an impact.
The other day a fellow CEO emailed me to express appreciation for my blog content. So I called him to thank them for saying so. That really surprised him that I would do that. We had a great visit by phone and it was a welcome diversion for both of us. And it certainly made an impact.
Even if you don’t think you have a reason to call someone, find a reason to thank them. I have always found thank you notes to be a great way to express appreciation—in fact, I knew someone who would not leave her office on Friday afternoon until she had written five thank you notes. But at this time of social distancing, human contact is even more appreciated, so don’t lose the opportunity to make the impact.
Let people know that you’re thinking about them and you care about them. And the people on your team will appreciate that human contact even more.
The other day I was having a hard time gaining any forward movement on an issue. Then all of a sudden I could see this situation more clearly, and I was able to make some key decisions. About a half hour later, a fellow CEO emailed me to say that he prayed for me at the exact time I had the breakthrough. That made my day hearing that he took the time to pray for me and then email me to tell me about it. That human contact—in a time that we can’t have face-to-face contact—made an impact on me.
With all the stresses we have today, you never know the impact you can make on someone by reaching out to them. Even simple gestures of caring can go a long way.
You have been placed in a position of influence and authority in other people’s lives. Be intentional about the contact you want to have in others’ lives. You can have a transformational impact on people. Don’t squander your leadership role by being just a boss.
How much of an impact are you making?
Robert McFarland is the author of the bestsellers, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew and Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew. Robert is also President of Transformational Impact LLC, a leadership development consultancy helping companies make ideals actionable.