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Businesses at risk as Omicron bites

Leadership 25 Feb . min read
As Omicron bites and takes a bigger chunk out of the workforce, pressure will come on those remaining to pick up the slack.

It’s a watch out for leaders, to make sure they don’t accidentally pile too much pressure on those still able to work.  
With staff shortages on the horizon for potentially every business in New Zealand, it’s a tricky time for leaders and their teams, and it’s more important than ever that leaders understand what’s going on at work. 

Everyone is going to be in the same boat. Stress will impact leaders and their workforces. Leaders need to know what the frustrations and pain points of their workforce are, and what is actually going on at the coal face. 

The only effective way to do this effectively is for leaders to get closer to their people, and not just “for now” but on an ongoing basis. 

Once leaders understand what’s going on, they can work with their people to see how they can help and support them. 

Through our work with clients, we’ve found that the best ideas for solving workplace challenges and issues come from the people doing the work themselves. Our surveys are centred around involving teams, and asking for their ideas and opinions. It’s the people delivering the work that usually know the business best; so why not get them involved by asking for their solutions and ideas for improvement? 

It’s unrealistic to expect leaders to be the brains trust and have all the answers. They just need to involve their people and then work collaboratively on solutions. 

What counts, and what people will remember during these uncertain and very challenging times is how they were treated, and how they felt. And despite the pressure, this is a really great opportunity for great employers and their leaders to shine.  

Leaders can make a difference by ensuring that their good intent, isn’t just rhetoric and lost to “coulda-woulda-shoulda”. Actions speak louder than words, and those actions should be applied right across, and throughout organisations. 

The key outtakes for leaders as we stare down the barrel of widespread Omicron infection, home isolation, and disrupted workforces and supply chains are:

  • There is increased risk for business, and risk that people could be taken advantage of
  • There’s never been a better time to get really close to your people
  • Involve them in finding solutions 
  • Work together in a meaningful way
  • Together, you’ll get through it
  • Communication and involvement is the antidote.

Chris O’Reilly

Chris co-founded AskYourTeam as a way to make it easier for leaders to ask their teams the most important (and the least-asked) question in business: “How can I help you do your job better?”

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