Four Ways Great Leaders Support Employees During COVID-19

BNY Mellon Perspectives Tip Sheet

Four Ways Great Leaders Support Employees During COVID-19

BNY Mellon Perspectives Tip Sheet

April 2020

Working from home (WFH) has become the norm for many of us. Managers and leaders need to flex with the times to ensure team cohesion and business continuity. It turns out getting the most out of employees means being the most understanding of their needs.

  1. Practice Empathy and Compassion
    Everyone’s circumstances are different. Your people could be dealing with a COVID-19 illness in the family, struggling with the ability to work from home efficiently, or just experiencing general stress. Team leaders need to really listen and be compassionate to each person’s situation. For example, parents will need defined times during the day to be with their children. By being flexible, we all support the kind of employee resilience that’s key for continued effectiveness.
  2. Provide Work Flexibility and Time to Disconnect
    You’d think that with WFH, people would be experiencing less stress—turns out it’s the opposite. Disconnecting during the day and taking extended time (yes, even vacation days) helps employees physically and mentally recharge their batteries. The lines between home and work are more blurred than ever, so it’s essential that employees disconnect. Make it a “soft mandatory” for employees to have lunch with their families, get any kind of exercise, or use the occasional vacation day.
  3. Communicate and Connect Frequently
    The best way to keep teams and individuals engaged is to conduct frequent check-ins. Keep them focused with realistic goals and expectations—and bring an optimistic tone to the conversation when possible. Managers and leaders should prioritize connection so people can feel like a part of something larger—even when apart. Leaders need to listen just as much; creating a real, two-way channel where employees can give feedback on what’s working well or what they need to be more effective.
  4. Be a Positive Role Model
    BNY Mellon has an internal blog series called “Window on My Work,” where our leaders share personal WFH experiences. When you personalize the message and are open about your own challenges, it encourages connection and a sense of community. This is truly a time for managers to “lead by example.”

Being supportive and providing time for home schooling, being with family, looking after pets or caring for themselves is key to keeping employees engaged. A great leader’s own actions in this time will show how gratitude and empathy can encourage positivity and give teams permission to perform at their peak.

BNY Mellon Investment Management is one of the world’s leading investment management organizations and one of the top U.S. wealth managers, encompassing BNY Mellon’s affiliated investment management firms, wealth management organization and global distribution companies. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation and may be used as a generic term to reference the corporation as a whole and/or its various subsidiaries generally.


This material is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, investment, financial or other professional advice on any matter. Unless stated otherwise, this material does not constitute a recommendation or advice by BNY Mellon of any kind. Views expressed are those of the author stated and do not reflect views of other managers or the firm overall. This information contains projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events, targets or expectations, and is only current as of the date indicated. There is no assurance that such events or expectations will be achieved, and actual results may be significantly different from that shown here. You should discuss this material with appropriate advisors in the context of your circumstances before acting in any manner on this material and make your own independent assessment (based on such advice). This material may not be comprehensive or up to date and there is no undertaking as to the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness for a particular purpose of information given. BNY Mellon will not be responsible for updating any information contained within this material and opinions and information contained herein are subject to change without notice. BNY Mellon assumes no direct or consequential liability for any errors in or reliance upon this material.


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