The Velvet Hammer: 6.2.21

As a mid-sized business owner, I am looking forward to bringing back my entire staff on-site, but I realize COVID has created a new set of challenges. I am working on a recovery plan and would appreciate your thoughts on significant leadership challenges to consider as I move forward.

It is hard being a leader in the best of times, let alone during the ongoing pandemic. Although I am not familiar with your business or your employees, here are a few thoughts regarding some challenges you may want to consider while developing, and especially when implementing, a restorative plan.

Maintaining and Boosting Morale
Keeping your team’s spirits intact will continue to be challenging due to the uncertainty of a full business recovery. Combine that fact along with the multiple stressors of COVID, and you could see increased employee anxiety to perform to ensure job security, which could possibly lead to burnout. As such, you will need to encourage your team to take a break from responsibilities when they need one in order to keep them focused, positive and engaged.

Workspace Concerns
Creating a feeling of safety is essential. But the challenge is beyond physical safety. Even when COVID is in check, you may find that a number of staffers prefer working from home and may be willing to change jobs if you don’t provide that option. Consider incorporating a hybrid model that will work for your organization.

Growth Reboot, Innovation and Sustainability
As a business owner who wants to drive and sustain growth as you continue down an uncertain path at this time, it is imperative that you understand the status of your market, what your customer needs/wants and the level of devastation they have experienced. That said, as a leader, you must be innovative to meet those needs, which may require creating new products and services that could turn out to be permanent offerings.

Ongoing Uncertainty
The elephant in the room continues to be the uncertainty about how long the pandemic will last and its impact on the economy and the market. So, it would make good sense to seek multiple views from accredited sources when making financial decisions. And, at the same time, be mindful that you must be flexible to pivot in a nanosecond if that advice should not prove to be a good decision.

I applaud your energy, innovation and focus that will be required to see this through. Like so many enterprises that are rebooting, there may be times when you feel that you are taking one step forward and two steps backwards—the key is to keep moving ahead. Best of luck.

Joan Lee Berkman is a marketing and public relations consultant. if you have a question for Joan, send it to


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