I’ve been noticing that everyone is experiencing more chronic stress right now than they were prior to 2020. Increased stressors could be due to financial insecurity, having kids at home doing remote learning, some or all of the time, having young adult children back in the house, relationship stress that comes from the other person being more or less anxious about the state of the world, lack of social connection, the loss of a family member or fear that a vulnerable family member is going to get sick.
What does this mean for you as a business leader? (If I was speaking to your employee, I’d be showing them how to transform their victim mindset into one of empowerment.) It means you have an opportunity to give daily wins. I’m not talking about participation trophies here. Let me explain.
Think about one of your employees, not all of them in general, but a specific person. What are they dealing with? Let’s say their kids are doing remote learning and it’s not going well. The teachers don’t know what they’re doing. The kids are suffering from lack of social connection. Whereas before, this employee felt like they were winning because their kids were happy and performing well at school, now, they feel like they are failing at home, with kid mood swings, refusal to do school work, poor grades and lack of engagement. This daily failure feels terrible!
While this is just one example, most of your employees are facing some kind of increased chronic stress that feels like losing, like failing. Some of them are facing multiple ways they feel like they are failing every day.
How does this affect you? Well, if you ignore this fact, your employees will continue to carry that internal losing feeling around with them all day and take it out on their coworkers or your customers. This could sound like, “That’s not my job,” or “Don’t touch that coffee!” or “We can’t do that now because of COVID-19.” You’ve likely experienced something like this in recent times as a customer. Are you paying attention to where it’s happening in your business?
What can you do about it?
- Ensure that your core values, core purpose and BHAG are updated, your leaders are aligned around them, and they’re communicated often. (If you’re missing any of these, get in touch. We can help!)
- Make sure every employee knows what’s expected of them every day and make it a game they can win. Again, I’m not talking about a trophy for participation here. I’m talking about making your expectations very clear and as simple as possible. They need to know what a win looks like.
- For some people that may mean you need to tell them the 5 things they used to do that don’t matter so much anymore. For example, while sanitizing the counter between every customer absolutely matters right now, keeping the stock room 100% organized when you have a line out the door maybe isn’t as important right now. What a relief not to obsess over details that aren’t providing value to the customer.
- What represents a daily win in each area of your company? If you’re not sure, ask your front-line employees. Hopefully they will tell them what success looks like. You may be surprised what you hear. They may also tell you what’s frustrating them about enforcing new COVID restrictions on your customers, or about what supply-chain issues they’re struggling with, or even what’s bothering them at home.
- Together you can brainstorm what really matters about their position every day.
Once that’s clear, no matter how much stress they are facing, they can let 90% of the worry go and still get the daily win. On days they’re less stressed, they’ll still go above and beyond, but on those days it’s a struggle just to put their shoes on the right feet, they’ll still get a win at work, which will help them weather the storm(s) at home. Having work as a refuge instead of another hassle in their lives will make them more loyal to you and more engaged in serving your customers, a big win for you.
If you’d like to explore these ideas further, please email me [email protected] and we can schedule a free call to talk about how you can put these ideas into practice in your business.
Ted Sarvata – Coach | Assured Strategy