2020 is certainly not letting up with its challenges and difficult events to work through.
It feels like an eternity since I was at DFW airport boarding a plane back to Los Angeles, getting the devastating breaking news that Kobe Bryant had just died in a helicopter crash. And, it feels like ever since then, month after month, there was just more and more difficult things to process.
From a business perspective, I bring awareness to all that’s going on, because we are all human. We are all experiencing what’s going on right now around us – – between having to work from home, homeschooling or taking care of children that are home (and managing their emotions or feelings about what’s going on), general fears and uncertainties that come with COVID-19, and now the heaviness of the past two week’s events surrounding racial injustice and fight for equality in this country. All of this and that doesn’t even take into account other various personal events or circumstances that your staff may be going through, that you may not even be aware of.
It’s a lot. And it cannot simply be ignored
To ask an employee to just “check that in at the door, work is work” is not a fair or even reasonable expectation or request at this time.
What Does This Mean?
The reason I am bringing this up is because everyone right now is going through a lot of stress and trying to manage a lot that may be on their hearts and minds. That means they may not be on their “A” game. They may not be quite as attentive to the details. They may be more distracted and less productive. They may be more reactive or emotional. Some things might be falling through the cracks.
And, How Are YOU?
Also, a little bit of a self-assessment and check-in for yourself as well. How are you doing? Are you overwhelmed or stressed? Are you under pressures, worrying about how this pandemic and the current events in this country are impacting your practice? It’s totally okay (and natural) if you are. I would probably be more worried if you weren’t somehow affected by all that’s happened in the last few months.
Okay, So We’re Not Okay Right Now…Now What?
I am certainly not telling you to forever excuse under-performance by your staff. I certainly hope that is not the takeaway here.
I just believe that acknowledging the giant elephant in the room here is healthy. That it is okay to not be okay right now. And that, as a business owner, the best thing that you can do to lead your team right now is to show that you are listening and that you care. To extend some form of empathy and understanding of what your staff may be going through. To show some grace – – to them and to yourself – – as we all are trying to manage what’s going on.
Last month was Mental Health Awareness Month. Some companies gave employees a day off to promote mental health and to encourage self-care. It’s certainly not too late to consider doing the same, whether firm-wide or individually if you see someone may be struggling. Also if you offer health insurance, many plans offer a variety of guidance on how to better support employees during these difficult times.
The Need for Boundaries & Protocols
While I do believe that it is important to be kind and empathetic right now, it is also equally important to be sure to set some boundaries and protocols as well. For example, everyone is stressed out and emotions are running high and while that may explain certain behaviors or outbursts, it does not excuse disrespectful or mistreatment of others. As a business owner, this is the challenging part of managing staff and other employees. So, be sure to keep lines of communication with your employees about their work performance and behaviors open. Further, it is important to set very clear boundaries with your staff about the appropriateness of getting into discussions at the workplace about opinions of what’s going on. These can become very heated and emotionally driven discussions that risk creating disharmony and discord at the office.
In conclusion, these are all some challenging and trying times for everyone. I do believe that better days to come are ahead of us. I leave you with this uplifting piece I came upon earlier today.
What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw —
that it finally forces us to grow.
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our ignorant slumber.
A year we finally accept the need for change.
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change.
A year we finally band together, instead of pushing each other apart.
2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather the most important year of them all
— Leslie Dwight
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristina Schneider is the current Executive Director of The Ultimate Estate Planner, Inc. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in 2004 and was hired right out of college to work for the Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, coordinating and facilitating Philip Kavesh’s “Missing Link” Boot Camps while also providing administrative support to Mr. Kavesh as his Executive Assistant for over seven years. Through her direct hands-on experience in Mr. Kavesh’s law firm, Kristina has been able to assist numerous estate planning professionals through The Ultimate Estate Planner and, equally as important, many of their staff members, in the successful implementation of Ultimate Estate Planner’s products and systems. You can reach Kristina at (424) 247-9495 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.