What have you actively kept in mind when communicating with your coworkers? What has the current crisis taught you so far? What strengths do you possess as a leader that could come in to handy right now? We present three questions about the Corona crisis to 9 Ostrobothnian bosses.
Principal of Nursery Strandsvalan
– At my workplace 100 out of 120 children are as of now absent. This naturally means that the daily work tasks change for most of us. As we are clueless as to how long this will go on we have implemented active discussions about what needs to be done first, second and third hand. My role is to be calm, listen, find solutions, keep myself up to date on the situation and not get myself worked up. I need to communicate daily about the current situation and any updates. What happens in the event of having to be laid off – and for how long? How does each individual consider their possibilities to survive being laid off from a economical point of view?
The crisis has taught us anything could happen at any time. No one could have predicted that we and the rest of the world would be facing this kind of a problem. Furthermore, the crisis teacher us to embrace the little positives, see small things that could become something big. Someone bakes something for everyone to enjoy during coffee break and another buys tulips to put on the table in the lunchroom. A crisis like this is not just about the fear of potentially getting sick, but the fear of losing one’s job and a fear of a continuous struggle in life, that this will never end. In these times it is important to find belief in everything sorting itself out with time.
My strength lies in my seniority in my field, I have seen a lot and have a lot of experience. In the eye of a storm created by a crisis I often manage to find some calm as I have learnt that things rarely get better by getting upset, afraid and losing the plot. I try to keep to the strategy of tackling one thing at a time without losing the ability to see the big picture.
CEO of Orapac
–The most important things is for the majority keeping healthy and we have amongst other things implemented good routines for keeping good hygiene and social distancing at work. I have tried not to focus on merely the negatives but to look forward at the possible opportunities this crisis could bring in the long run.
We could see at an early stage that difficult economic times where at our doorstep. We are still facing the early days of this crisis and it is crucial to already now have a plan in place on how to handle the economic situation in the long run. After many years of growth the economy is plummeting fast and many thoughts go out to the affected entrepreneurs.
I possess a positive outlook on the future. After the storm comes sunshine. I tend to keep my calm in difficult situations and I hope that creates calm amongst my coworkers to continue working knowing we will find a way through this crisis.
CEO of Gambit
– I have tried to keep it real – without exaggerating or underestimating the situation. I aim to be transparent with sharing information and thoughts. We are early birds with informing coworkers what this situation could bring to the table and kept an open discussion about how we can together handle the situation in the best way.
The crisis has proven what a great team we possess, where everyone is ready to step up and support each other if needed. Furthermore, we have gotten praise and positive feedback on how we have handled the situation so far and for our leadership. One of us had the idea of implementing virtual coffee breaks, although it is not quite the same it serves quite well to have a coffee break in the form of a video conference.
I believe in being honest, open and transparent. This is something we at Gambit already possessed so we have a good base of trust. My genuine desire to help out where I can is something that is infectious. That I take it upon me to make delicious cappuccinos for everyone is also a way of lifting the spirits!
CEO of Vasa Elektriska
– I actively try to think about 1. proactivity and 2. clarity. Structure creates security. At the same time it is important to show humanity and provide possibility to join in influence and create change.
The crisis has so far taught us how quickly a situation can change and the importance of being able to quickly learn new methods of working. We always need to be prepared for the unknown. It has been great to see how effectively and well the staff has taken on new routines.
Regarding the question about my strengths in this crisis I sought help from a colleague to answer this question and she said that I tend to have my eyes on the future and have the capability of seeing the opportunities. That I have a positive grip which is needed in a situation like this.
CEO of Visit Vaasa
– I have actively tried to support my staff and tell them as it is. At the moment it is important to keep everyone as informed as possible and keep a daily dialog with your colleagues. We have learnt how very fragile we are in the face if not knowing what will happen next. On the other hand we have seen the strength in each and every colleague when push comes to shove.A crisis reveals both strengths and weaknesses.
When it comes to my own strengths and weaknesses it would perhaps be best to ask my colleagues, but I believe that the way I seem to find calm in the midst of a crisis would be my greatest strength. As a humanist I care about my colleagues and I try to keep track of how they are doing.
Administration at university of applied sciences Novia
– When communicating I try not to exaggerate a situation. I want to unravel the actual situation at hand in the midst of a mass media storm that we are experiencing right now. I keep myself updated for example on what the law says in regards to the situation and what could happen in the future.
I try to update myself daily. We at Novia have implemented short daily meetings where part of the management team and the principal, communication, safety and occupational sector, head of the international department, student representatives and myself with a view on the law, participate. We brainstorm, discuss information and decide on course of action concerning various questions.
I believe in communicating with each other and gathering to exchange short updates. We have had to learn how to work from a distance and digitally using different platforms. As we operate in four different countys we are familiar with working digitally from before, but we have had to start using new platforms. In addition we try to make sure that our employees actively take care of their core work task, educating, which will further improve digitalisation at Novia in the future.
I have vast experience of jobs within the public sector and I know my way around the community organization so I know where to find information. A large network also helps. I have also had some experience of a local crisis during the big floods in Oravais and Vörå 2004. This provided me with some tools to handle this crisis too. My strengths lie in investigating and figuring things out before engaging in chaotic, potentially misinformed discussions. I feel I am able to keep my calm and I try to take care of pressing matters.
– I have tried to show my coworkers that I am there for them in various ways. In our industry, the wellness industry, we have lost 50-70% of our customers almost instantly so the worry is real. In this situation it is important as a leader to show that we are one, that I am prepared to step up when needed whether this means economically or letting them vent their thoughts.
It is clear to us now how vulnerable our daily life is but also what amazing strength we can create when we stick together and support each other. Every phone call, lunch or coffee break is worth gold. During a time of crisis it is more important than ever to feel a sense of belonging to a group or connection. It has also opened our eyes to that it is now more than ever that we are needed – to show people that we are the wellness center we have claimed to be during these 9 years since we first opened our doors. It is now that the daily lives of our customers are crumbling that we are needed more than ever. It has also resulted in us providing online yoga classes, psychotherapy and coachign to strengthen you mentally. We also offer qigong, PT services and consulting regarding McKenzie technique digitally. Through our social media platforms we are giving out tips and advice about wellbeing and our day to day activity during this crisis. I am so proud of all Wasa Wellness entrepreneurs who every day show courage, creativity, and a will to step up when it really matters!
At the moment I feel that my stubbornness, creative thinking as well as clear and straightforward communication is what has benefitted me the most during these times so far. My positive outlook on life, to see possibilities where others see problems also helps. To show others that I care is a given. We will get through this wiser and with many important lifelessons under our belt.
Regional supervisor at Folkhälsan
– What I have tried to put emphasis on in this situation is clarity and continuity. Clarity as to not inflict unnecessary concern and continuity so that the majority of businesses I am responsible for are operating despite Corona and the state of emergency. At the moment I believe in working systematically and effectively. We need to hurry but with care. I find great advantage in my verbal skills and previous experience of businesses facing a crisis.