These are strange and difficult times for leaders. It seems inevitable that COVID-19 will impact our economy, our industries and our current projects, but none of us can know how or for how long.

Now, more than ever, we must make time to lead the people around us. Making time to connect, check in, and have genuine person-to-person conversations will pay off in ways we might not imagine — and this applies at home, as well as work.

Here are five conversation-worthy questions to get people talking, thinking and connecting during these uncertain times:

  • How are you doing? How’s the ‘weather between your ears’?
  • What are you concerned or anxious about? What’s keeping you up at night?
  • How do you take care of yourself when you’re feeling stress? What helps?
  • How might we learn or grow from this situation? What’s a potential upside?
  • What can I do to support you? What can you and I do for each other?

If your team is having meetings, put five or ten minutes on the agenda and ask people to share. If you’ve got one-on-one calls, start the conversation by checking in. And, if you’re stuck at home and notice yourself overthinking, pick up the phone and call someone — chances are, they’re in a similar place.