How do I do this? (a message for leaders)

Wow. That went down fast. Our world changed in what feels like a whirlwind of a 48 hours. A lot of us went from fully operational to remote. Many had to make very difficult decisions to suspend operations of brick and mortar businesses. One thing we know is when a crisis hits, we look to our leaders. We are unbelievably lucky to have amazing leaders like you in our Thrive at Work community. And… staying strong as a leader is not easy when you are trying to figure everything out for yourself and your family, while also leading your team.

We are here for you. We support leaders, that’s what we do. In the coming weeks and maybe months, we have your back, as you lead remotely, as you have hard conversations with your team members, as you figure out a plan, as you listen and take in the worry and emotion of others, as you reimagine your work. We’re here to support you, to coach you, to be a safe space to have a good cry over the phone. We’re going to get through this because of your leadership, and we’re going to get through this together.

Where to even start? How do I show up as a leader now, as the world changes by the minute?

1. Get centered in your values and mission. If you don’t have shared team values, then go to your personal values. Right now, teams need a sense of connecting with their identity toward the greater good. We need to hear things like “We’re making the decision to work remotely because we’re the kind of team that’s flexible when things get hard, and we’re the kind of team that above all else cares. We’re not putting people at risk, so we’re working from home”. 

2. Message clearly and decisively. People want guidance. Yes, we are still and will always be strong advocates for co-creating and shared decision making, AND when we’re in a crisis, we need clear direction from leaders. Set up a clear structure for your people, so they can have a sense of some solid ground even if it’s just solid ground for the next two weeks. “Here’s what we’re going to do”, “Here’s what we’re going to try”, “This is our plan”. Of course, right now everyone has to understand that “we will make adjustments as necessary” because things are changing quickly. 

3.Show up with compassion and reassurance. Everyone’s question whether they say it out loud or not is: “Are we going to be okay?” Leaders have to be the ones to say “yes, we’re going to be okay”, or “we will figure this out”, or “I don’t know how this will turn out, but we will take it a step at a time, together”. People want to know they’re cared for, they want to be heard, they want to know more than anything that they’re not alone.

4.Check-in often. When you’re working remotely, people need to have human connection in more intentional ways. A simple phone call or text with a “how are you?” at least once a week is important. Step up the frequency of your “one on one” meetings. If you typically meet once a month, do a shorter one on one, twice a month or once a week. People need more touch points from their leaders when things feel unstable and uncertain. 

5.Get the support you need, to stay strong. Get your speed dial or speed text list together, a few people that you can call when you’re down, when you need a boost, when it feels too overwhelming. Most importantly, reach out when you need it. No one handles this alone. Put us on your list. We’ve got free 30 minute coaching sessions scheduled every day, we’ve got a virtual community space for leaders, we’ve got resources and support for you when you need it.


Jen Margolis

About Jen Margolis

My passion is helping people find and use their strengths to move toward their biggest vision. My career began as a community organizer with refugees and grew to designing and facilitating programs for international professionals including grassroots women leaders in Egypt. These experiences led me to management consulting focusing on strategic planning, leadership development, community and education based program development and executive coaching.