Leading a team is never easy, but it’s especially difficult this summer.  We’re all coping with new ‘hassles’: wearing masks, social distancing, working remotely, etc.  Many of our teammates are anxious about off-the-job challenges. And the news / social media discussion of current events increases risk of conflict and drama within teams.

As managers, it’s up to us to set standards, explain rules and ensure compliance.  But as leaders, it’s up to us to change the way people relate to these challenges — to help our teams buy in and choose to behave appropriately. 

Here are three prompts you can use at crew meetings, tool-box talks or one-on-one conversations to get people talking and thinking about working in this “new normal”.

  1. You’re right: wearing masks is a hassle.  But we’ve adjusted to other hassles before.  What are some examples of things we do now which we resisted and resented in the past?  What can we learn from those examples to make this adjustment easier?
  2. I’m with you: on-line meetings are tedious.  But as I recall, so were face-to-face meetings.  How are video / Zoom meetings better than our previous ways of meeting?  What could we do to make them less tedious?
  3. It’s true: politics, news, social media — we’ve got more distractions and worries than ever.  What’s your go-to move for setting that stuff aside and focusing on the task at hand?  How do you stay informed without being overwhelmed or grouchy?

The goal here is interaction.  When we ask a question and listen to what people have to say, we make it more likely they’ll try on a new idea or see an issue differently.  Get people talking and thinking about what it means to work in the “new normal”.