April 20, 2020

Tips for working Bravely during COVID-19, Part 5

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Tip #21: Give more positive feedback than ever.

Constructive criticism is always valuable in helping us grow. Right now, though, the stress and fear many people are feeling means our need for positive feedback — the kind that nurtures us and tell us our work is being seen — is greater than ever.

Think about the last few people you gave constructive feedback to. Now try to give each of them positive feedback that’s specific, timely, and focused on effort and behavior (vs. personality traits).

Takeaway: There’s no perfect ratio for positive feedback vs. constructive feedback — but there’s also no such thing as too much (productive) positive feedback.

Tip #22: Meta-communicate.

You’ve heard again and again that we need to over-communicate while we all work from home. Going one step further, it’s important to meta-communicate, or communicate about communication.

If you’re asked a question you don’t have an answer to, be honest about not knowing, and be explicit about how and when updates will be shared.

Takeaway: We naturally crave information — it’s easier to work when you have all the facts. When those facts aren’t available, meta-communicating offers some clarity and peace of mind.

Tip #23: Take on a growth mindset.

We all have things we consider our “weak spots.” You might tell yourself, “I’m bad at public speaking,” “I’m not a great writer,” or “Project management isn’t my thing.”

Over the past few weeks, you’ve probably done things you didn’t think you could do. Build on that: revisit your so-called “weak spots” and treat them as skills you can learn and improve.

Takeaway: In a growth mindset, “I’m not good at this” becomes “I can learn this.”

Tip #24: Nurture your alliances.

Under normal circumstances, there are people at work who you count on, and who count on you: for honest feedback, a listening ear, or a show of support. Lately, without built-in face time, you may be giving less thought to those relationships.

Think about who those people are for you. Reach out to them to schedule time for a video conversation with them or see if they need help with anything.

Takeaway: Spending more time on your most important relationships at work can help you stay connected to the company and your own personal mission.

Tip #25: Go into meetings with a point of view.

One of the many challenges people are facing in their work right now is staying visible — that is, ensuring that you’re the go-to for your specific work function and area of expertise, and that your hard work isn’t going unnoticed.

One way to accomplish this is to prepare for any project meeting you’re a part of: show up understanding why your perspective is needed (either via the agenda or talking to the organizer), and write down your questions and thoughts ahead of time. 

Takeaway: No matter how large your company is, you bring knowledge and a viewpoint that no one else can.

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