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How to make your employees feel heard and understood during crises

By Clint Pulver | May 13, 2020 | Comments Off
HubSpot Video

Something I think is important right now, especially in the chaos of COVID-19, is a word that I call “status”. This word comes from my past life in the medical field. Before my professional speaking career, I spent five years in operating rooms working as an orthopedic consultant helping physicians and the medical team to operate on patients. One of the words that was always used was the word “status”. The doctor would often ask “what's the status of the patient” or “can I get a status update”. What they were asking for is the vitals of the patient. Every human being has vitals. These are the things that make sure we're healthy, moving, stable and alive. Those include your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and respiratory rate. If you don't have one of those things, you're not doing very well. We were constantly monitoring the status of our patients. 

In the medical field, the status or the vital signs of the patient would determine treatment. If there's something wrong with the heart rate or the body temperature, that would tell us how to treat the patient to make sure we've achieved a good status. Then you repeat. You recheck the vitals. Then we treat again. You repeat this process until healthy stability is maintained long term. Now more than ever we need good managers and leaders to conduct what I call status interviews with their people.

I think it's easy right now to get caught up in the big problems. You're worrying about finances, investments, expenses, current operations, strategies. But your strategies are only as good as your people. We cannot forget about the power of our people. During this time of chaos where most of us are working in the virtual world, the well being of everybody needs to be looked after. Employees still need to be seen, heard and understood. The goal of the status interview is an intimate one-on-one setting where you reach out to your employees and say “I just want to set up a meeting to catch up and see how you're doing”. 

To be clear, this is not a time to talk about performance. This is not a time to talk about the goals of the company or the vision statement, or the agenda of what we need to do to keep operations flowing. This is simply an opportunity for you as the manager or the leader to create a connection. It is an opportunity for you to really check the vital signs of your people. 

The 4 Best Questions to use during a Status Meeting

I want to be sensitive to our current situation. Below are a few examples of questions that only certain businesses might find useful right now.

The first question of a great status interview is: 

  • What can I do as your manager to keep you here?

The second question is: 

  • What's increased your sense of happiness the most at work? What's working for you right now?

The third question is:

  • What is causing the most amount of stress and worry right now for you at work?


  • How can I make things easier?

Right now, you have a great opportunity to make sure that everybody is being seen and heard. In doing that, we maintain healthy stability long term with our people. We become a more empowered workforce, and empowered workforces always create greater productivity. We become an organization that truly becomes the best for the world in a time when it's needed the most.

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Three Top Tips for Remote Leaders from Keynote Speaker Tim Sanders

By Karen Harris | May 06, 2020 | Comments Off

If ever there was a time for leaders all over the globe to work smarter - from the CEOs of large corporations, to small business owners, to everyone in between – it is right now.

Our businesses are all shifting and adapting to what feels like 24/7 change. For most of our people, that is intimidating and sometimes even terrifying. How leaders communicate and set the stage for success makes all the difference. 

That’s why we asked Tim Sanders - my friend, mentor and the VP of Customer Insights at Upwork - for real-world strategies to lead with more ease, create calm in the chaos, and generate results and abundance – both in mindset – and bottom line productivity. 


Here’s what we can learn from Tim: It’s time to “double down on your one-on-ones”. 

Think about it. Your team members aren’t seeing you around the office, nor are they getting that one-on-one feedback they are used to. While many organizations have all ramped up virtual team meetings, emails, and even Zoom “happy hours”, many people just aren’t getting the “nested” information or nurtured leadership they need to succeed at a high level. Tim calls this “R&R” – the components that build Resilience and Relationships. For that? Nothing beats one-on-one time. In fact, according to the research from Tim’s consulting company, Deeper Media Inc, it is six times more effective than group interaction!

Here are a few strategies that can help: 

1. Conduct weekly one-on-one sessions with each team member and focus on these three questions: 
    1. How’s it going?
    2. What have you decided to focus on this week?
    3. What information and resources do you need to meet this week’s plan?

2. Never cancel or reschedule your meeting. This allows them to feel valued, seen, and heard and helps continuously build trust. 

3. Every month, schedule a one-on-one to look back on the past month’s progress. During this call, give really good feedback on what they can do to improve or maintain their momentum in the month ahead. 

In the video, Tim shares that an Upwork manager refers to the weekly calls as tactical and the monthly as qualitative. As leaders, it is our job to take the helm with high levels of both confidence and communication skills. When we are calm, confident, and committed to delivering what our teams need to thrive, regardless of what the world throws our way, then we are setting the example for everyone in our organization and even for our communities at large. 

Thank you, Tim, for your valued insights on how leaders can help their teams work more effectively from home while still feeling valued and connected. They are amazing ideas for our current climate - as well as strong business strategies when the world shifts again. 

On a side note, I’m extraordinarily proud of my team - they’ve all stepped up to help our keynote speakers, virtual trainers and clients adjust their “sails” during this time of “choppy waters” and change. You all are amazing, and I thank you! 

To acquire more powerful and important leadership messaging, visit NEW Virtual Experiences on our website. There you will see how our leadership speakers and trainers are helping companies navigate and thrive through virtual keynotes and trainings. Contact my team today to learn more.

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