Get over yourself. They don’t exist. So, let’s focus on priorities instead.
As the Legal Administrator for Altitude Community Law P.C., my style, like many others in management, has always had an emphasis on being fair. Company policies provide expectations of all employees, regardless of Department and regardless of rank. Client servicing expectations do not fluctuate depending on status or profitability of one client over another. In short, there are no different rules for different fools. Fairness is the calling card of a good manager.
Enter COVID-19 into our lives. Should fairness still be your top priority?
The Pandemic is challenging because it changes everything. It’s all-encompassing and all-consuming of time and energy. It changes our priorities, and it changes our plans. It changes us mentally, and it changes us physically. It changes our routines, and it changes our ability to freely move about our world. It changes how we work, and it changes how we play. And it sucks. But, here are some suggested priorities for these turbulent times.
- Take care of yourself. Exercise more, sleep more, and get out in the sun more. It has been shown that all three positively impact our immune systems. Do it. Do it more than you did before.
- Take care of your loved ones and assist others in taking care of theirs. Be there for others, even if you’re not asked. Deliver a care package of hand sanitizer and hand lotion to someone’s front porch. Bring in gift bags of movies/popcorn for employees to take home to their families. Order dinner delivered to your brother’s house tomorrow.
- Take care of your employees. The largest asset for most companies is human. Take care of your humans first; you’ll get to procedures and operations in time. Keep your office door open and check in with folks. Set up a shelf in the office for non-perishables, household products, and PPE so employees can take items which they may struggle to find in the stores.
- Take care of your business. You may be barely over PTSD from your budget review six months ago. But, go right back into a budget mindset during the Pandemic, because the crystal ball you used last fall is no longer relevant. Prognosticating the Pandemic’s impact on your business’s revenue may seriously affect your spending strategies. Look at your budget again and again as the Pandemic progresses. Initiatives might need to be shuffled or put on hold. It’s okay. It’s not forever. Place your radar firmly on revenue and manage expenses accordingly.
- Change your management mindset. Instead of focusing on being fair, focus on doing no harm. Is it fair that a parent with kids and no daycare options be allowed to work from home in sweatpants, while a single person living alone puts on real pants and comes to the office? Maybe it’s not fair, but it does no harm. The priority is keeping both employees working while ensuring business operations are handled efficiently. The Pandemic is not fair, affecting so many people and businesses without cause. As a result, maybe a manager’s mindset should be less on fairness and more on doing no harm with their Pandemic protocol.
The biggest suggestion I can make to others in management is to get really good at pivoting. With your core centered on taking care of yourself and taking care of others, you will have the strength to pivot when it comes to taking care of your business. Your legacy as a manager shall not be that you experienced a Pandemic during your tenure. Your legacy as a manager shall be that you triumphed over whatever came your way. That you did it with flexibility, sensitivity, humanity, and grace, let that be your legacy.