• Mark Topley

Something to look forward to - leading your team out of lockdown

All being well, we are coming towards the end of a once in a 100 years event. The pandemic is something that (hopefully), our children, and their children will never experience again. It’s been a tough time for us all.

How are your team doing?

If you're like most of the clients that I speak to, they’re pretty battered. Many are tired, some are demoralised, everyone of them has been through a great deal of change over the past twelve months. Continual adaptation to new SOPs. Daily donning and doffing of oppressive PPE. And all the time having to manage theirs and their family’s concerns over infection.

And there’s still a long way to go.

On the outside, people are starting to get frayed. I’m hearing more reports of absenteeism, disengagement and strain. Snappy conversations are more frequent as people’s patience wears thin. On the inside, stress is building up.

So what do your team need right now? How can you get them reengaged when they've been through so much?

We all need something to look forward to, and hopefully there’s a summer holiday on the horizon in a few months time. But we all know that living for the weekend or the holidays won’t produce the positive team results that we need right now. Our people need something else to look forward to, something to feel good about.

In my experience, the best way to motivate and inspire your people is to give them something to do that makes a difference for others. No matter how bad things are for us, there will always be those in our community for whom the pandemic has caused more harm. I am sure that when you look around your locality, it’s clear that your community needs you.

That’s why now is the perfect time to start planning your charity CSR activities for this year.

CSR & Teams

CSR (Collective Sustainability and Responsibility) refers to the decisions you take over how you will care for your people, protect your environment and engage with your community.

This is where connecting your team to a higher purpose within them, can have a very positive impact as you rebuild your team after the lockdown.

A charity event or scheme right now, as well as the plan for more to come in the coming months could give you the boost in morale that you need right now.

Yes - you can give bonuses

Yes - you can give time off, gifts and thank yous.

But if you really want to pull people together, give them the chance to make a difference.

I understand the challenges of having to pick your team up time and again in a tough season.

Again and again I’ve seen how fundraising and volunteering can be powerful in terms of improving communication, boosting morale, fostering collaboration, and embodying your culture. Now is the perfect time.

Community Engagement in the post-lockdown period

Since we will have restrictions on what we can do for some months to come, a different approach to ‘usual’ is required. Here is what I recommend for your post-pandemic community engagement plan.

  • Start small - get brainstorming about three sets of ideas - what you can do in the next month (a very small in-house fundraiser), what you could do in the next quarter (something summer-focussed as restrictions lift) and something to do in the next year (a big event you can organise for when anything goes. For a list of ideas that can be implemented during restrictions, visit my website and search for the ‘Lockdown Lifting Fundraising Ideas’ Blog.

  • Identify a suitable partner charity - choose a cause that fits for your practice. For most people I would recommend a local charity for whom your fundraising, profile and eventually volunteering would make a difference. Get to know who they are, what they need, and what you can fundraise for in the form of a tangible target or outcome.

  • Engage your team in creating the plan. It’s important that the team feels they’ve been involved in the process, so make sure you’ve given them the opportunity to contribute ideas.

  • Manage the plan - appoint and empower someone with the responsibility to organise things (with help if necessary). Make sure they have support and profile within your meetings to keep people up to date and enthusiastic.

  • Keep connecting - make sure you are keeping the initial buzz going by reporting back to the team. Connect what you’re doing with your patients and the public through your newsletters, website and social media.

We’ve been through a tough time. It’s encouraging to see a plan in place to get us through the pandemic and back to life without restrictions. Re-engaging your team in this season is crucial, and if you really want to pull people together, give them the chance to make a difference.

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