Supporting your team during times of stress

By Samantha Garner | May 23, 2020

leadership during stressful times

Stressful times – whether it’s a worldwide pandemic like COVID-19, or some other reason – can be tough on a small business. And as the leader, you may be feeling additional pressure. How can you be there for your team and support them, while making sure you’re also doing okay?

To us, leadership in times of stress must start from a place of empathy. We’re all feeling upside-down these days, and we can’t expect to meet the same standards we did before. This applies to you as a small business leader, as well as each one of your employees. Take greater care to engage with your team and make sure you’re giving them the support they need – both for their career and for their emotional wellbeing. Now more than ever, your team needs to see that you’re truly a leader who they want to follow.

And be sure to protect your own emotional health! Here are some ways to deal with stress in uncertain times.

Entrepreneur also had some great thoughts on this topic recently. For example:

Employees need you to understand their anxieties, frustrations, and pain points to be able to support them before expecting them to perform at their fullest potential. Leaders must prioritize connections and meet their people where they are rather than where you want them to be. This is how you build trust and prepare employees to handle a pandemic or similar crisis.

If you’re wondering how to support your time during the current pandemic, take heart – you’re not alone! Entrepreneurs across Canada and around the world are going through the same thing. Check out Entrepreneur’s article: How Leaders Nurture Emotional Well-Being During Times of Crisis.


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Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | May 16, 2020

entrepreneur phone call

Have you read any good business blog posts or articles lately? Here are some that we liked!

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How to manage your team when working from home

By Samantha Garner | May 9, 2020

Managing Employees Working From Home

Many small businesses across Canada have had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes having everyone work from home. If you’re new to managing a team of remote workers, here are some tips and guidelines to keep in mind.

How to manage a remote team

  • Be flexible and understanding. Many entrepreneurs and employees alike have been thrust into the work-from-home life in this unprecedented time, and are doing their best to manage their work responsibilities while managing family and their own mental health. Of course, your employee should be as considerate of their deadlines and schedules as in a traditional office. But it’s important to remember that most people are adjusting to this new way of working, while at home potentially with other family members who have their own schedules and needs too. You may have to be extra flexible to account for this, and cut your team a little more slack than normal.
  • Check in on a regular basis. Whether it’s weekly group chats or one-on-one check-ins, make sure you talk to each of your employees on a regular basis to see how they’re doing. They may need an extra day to complete a project, or may be in need of community resources to help them. Don’t pressure them to talk, but make sure they know your virtual door is always open.
  • But don’t jam-pack the days with meetings. Back-to-back meetings are often distracting even in a regular office environment, let alone a working from home during a pandemic environment. It’s important to make sure that everyone is kept up to date and knows what’s going on, but it might be a good idea to scale back the amount of meetings you have, to ensure nobody gets overwhelmed or falls behind. Instead, try quicker messaging options like Slack.
  • Trust in your team. A huge part of running a virtual office is trusting that your team is working. You can’t stroll by and chat with them like in a traditional office. Of course, you should be monitoring their overall progress and how they get there, but don’t make checking their social media and constantly asking for updates a regular part of your day. Many of us have seen reduced productivity during the pandemic, so take that into consideration as well.
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How businesses can help during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Samantha Garner | May 2, 2020

online cooking

If your small business is doing okay, all things considered, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering how you can help others in your community. Here are some ideas:

  • Can your small business utilize its unique difference to help others? For example, an event planning business is ideally suited to organize a virtual charity fundraiser. Your restaurant can make videos featuring step-by-step recipes using pantry staples. Fitness coaches can host live classes online. Bakeries can deliver yummy treats to those who need a little pick-me-up. Get creative!
  • Look for ways you can continue to support your employees and keep them safe during this time, when they may be feeling high amounts of job insecurity. For example, you can offer paid sick leave or bonuses, connect them with community resources, or make sure their telecommuting situation is working as smoothly as possible. If your employees are still coming into a physical workspace, ensure sanitation and social distancing practices are top-notch.
  • Support other businesses as often as possible. For example, move your Friday team lunches online, and offer employees restaurant gift cards so they can have their lunch delivered.
  • Reach out to your customers and community in unique and fun ways. For example, maybe your purse design business can host a Q&A hour on Instagram Live or Facebook Live, where people can ask questions and get to know you and each other.

Here are some other ideas we saw in small business blog posts and articles:

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Being a strong leader in times of crisis

By Samantha Garner | April 25, 2020

entrepreneur phone call

In these stressful times, many small business owners are struggling with keeping their business going while also being a good leader for their team.

Fast Company has some tips for particular emotional intelligence skills you can develop for leading in the time of coronavirus:

While our leaders will not have all the answers, we have expectations that they will find the right people to help them, provide moral support and direction, and shine a light to help us find our way to a better place. We are looking for someone who we trust to have our best interests at heart.

Read the article by Fast Company here.

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