How to lead your team through the emotional storm of COVID-19

How to lead your team through the emotional storm of COVID-19

The only constant in life is change.

Heraclitus, Greek philosopher

We all understand that change is constant.

Today we are faced with a sudden change, due to the coronavirus outbreak, which we have no control over. We are riding through the currents of a storm. Change is not linear with a beginning and an end, but circular. We are constantly evolving and need to use all our inner resources to keep moving forwards.

As leaders, managers and business owners, we are faced with making critical business decisions through this change. At the same time, your teams are all going through different experiences:

  • Some of your team may have lost their job or been furloughed.
  • You and your team may be isolated from family and friends.
  • People are learning to work from home, with a mix of positive and negative emotions and experiences.
  • You may be managing your teams remotely for the first time.
  • You may be struggling with your own emotions and fears.
  • Your team may include people who are going out to work and dealing with the associated anxieties.
  • You and your team members may be balancing work, children and all the domestic duties of the home.

It’s important to accept that we’re all dealing with different challenges and experiencing different emotions.

In this article we look at two tools from the world of Emotional Intelligence. We examine how they can help you and your team deal with these changes.

Plutchik’s wheel of emotions

The first step to being more Emotionally Intelligent is to build on emotional literacy and ask yourself what you are feeling. We all have mixed emotions and that is okay.

This “wheel of emotions” can help to bring clarity to your feelings in situations like this, when things may feel overwhelming. It is also a good guide to help you understand and empathise with your team’s emotions.

For example, if your initial feelings of apprehension at the coronavirus outbreak have moved to fear and, ultimately, terror, then your brain will be flooded with cortisol. This makes it hard for you to think straight. With your mind so fogged, it’s difficult to make the decisions necessary to function in day to day life, let alone reduce the intensity of your feelings.

As a compassionate and empathetic leader, self-awareness is important. Acknowledge and accept what you’re feeling and the feelings of your teams. Appreciate that some may feel the same as you and some may be experiencing different emotions. Embracing these emotions and labelling them can reduce the strength of the feeling.

Out of your Comfort Zone

This useful diagram probably resonates with many of you. Before this crisis you may have felt safe and in control of your life – in the comfort zone. The same was probably true for members of your team and your family.

With the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic and the changes this has forced upon us, many have moved into the fear zone. Emotions are loud and can magnify. Feelings of anger, fear of the virus, loneliness, hurt, disappointment, sadness, regret, being trapped, frustration and confusion or even loss can surface.

How do we emotionally and practically move beyond the fear zone into the learning zone, gaining new abilities and confidence? And, finally, how do we reach the growth zone, where one can feel emotionally fulfilled and much more positive?

As a leader, how do you identify where your team’s emotions are and help them to move beyond their own fears?

Emotions drive people and people drive performance

We can work with you and your teams to build your Emotional Intelligence knowledge and emotional resilience. This will strengthen you and your business as we adapt to a new way of working.

And, beyond your team, we can help you learn to give the best experience to your customers, who will be having different emotions and experiences too. With our support, you can create an opportunity to gain or reinforce their loyalty to your business.

You can achieve a more positive business culture, enhanced working relationships and an overall improvement in both employee and customer satisfaction.

And, by helping your people, you will help your business to attain improved productivity, overall performance and customer loyalty. Our services are tailored to each client’s requirements. We draw from our extensive knowledge of neuroscience, decades of experience supporting businesses like yours and expertise in tools such as:

We provide individual or group coaching. This can be done as a one-off project or as part of a longer term programme of personal and business development. Our services are all available remotely and will be tailored to your specific needs.

We invite you to a free 30 minute discovery chat. We will discuss your current situation, your hopes for the future and how we might help you achieve those aspirations. To book your discovery chat call us on +44 (0)7834 544 531 or email services@clariscoaching.com.