Aren’t we done with this yet? If you’re like me, that’s what you’re thinking. Remember March? We all thought we’d give it two or three weeks, hunker down, and this whole thing would be over. Those of you on the frontlines bravely soldiered on, caring for patients and elders, teaching your students online, and enabling the rest of us to have food and supplies for those three weeks. Three weeks. Except that now it’s October and, yet, we’re still in this mess with no clear end in sight.
The world is collectively going through trauma, and for Americans, in a very divided country, the virus is only one piece of that puzzle. Trauma is an applicable word for all of us, but especially for those on the front lines of this pandemic. The other day I spoke with an executive director of a senior living residence and she was so clearly worn out and had great concern for her entire team who shows up day in and day out, risking their own health and lives to care for the elders that live in their community.
I’ve spent the last few months asking, what can I do? How can I help? You may be asking this as well. Recently, I had a conversation with a leadership team whom I’m helping to define their cultural standards. One of their key behaviors is around the idea of checking in with each other. It got me thinking of the power of checking in, and it may be one of the simplest and best actions you can take during this tumultuous time.
Here’s what I mean.
Check-In with Yourself
The only way we can be there for others is if we take care of ourselves. Be sure to check-in with yourself throughout the day. What do you need? Obviously, there are some conditions beyond our control. However, perhaps a 15-minute break would help? Do you need to get up early and take a walk each day? Or do you need to let yourself sleep in? Would it help to turn off the news, get off social media, and watch a comedy? Does it help you to call a friend? Do you need a good cry? Do you need to have some fun? Do you need to take some time off from work? Knowing that conditions are less than ideal (an understatement), what can you do that’s within your control to make sure you’re taking care of you!
Check-In with Eachother
“How are you? Really.” Be proactive about checking in with your co-workers and your staff. One of the best actions we can do right now is to listen. Just the act of checking-in with people lets them know you care and then really listen to the responses. Let people vent. Listen to their feelings, their frustrations, and also their ideas. You’re going through a tremendous change and getting input from the people on the frontlines is critical. Remember to check-in with the people in the “back of the house” as well. They are the supporters of your frontline team. Finally, check-in on your friends and family. We need each other now more than ever.
Check-In with Customers
This is an ideal time to spend a little more time listening to your customers. If you see your customers face-to-face, spend a little extra time with them, masks on and physically distanced of course. Have a few questions ready to ask to encourage a little conversation with those who might otherwise be isolated. If you’re distanced from your customers, pick up the phone, send an email or set up a brief Zoom call. Use this time to find out what’s going on in your customer’s world. Not only does it show them you’re thinking of them, but they’ll give you the information you can use to ensure you have relevant solutions for them in the future.
Eventually, we’ll be on the other side of this pandemic.
In the meantime, let’s be there for one another. Comment below and let me know what you’re doing to stay strong and calm during this pandemic?
Donna Cutting is the author of the Amazon bestseller 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers and the forthcoming book, “Employees First! Inspire, Engage, and Focus on the Heart of Your Organization.” (Career Press, March 2022) For more tips, subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.theredcarpetway.tv
Photo by Treadshots