Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about a new SuperSport documentary, titled Chasing the Sun, which tracks the Springbok rugby team’s journey to World Cup glory in 2019. Something quite telling about the 5-part miniseries is how much they focus on the people behind the scenes – the families, coaching staff, logistics teams and medical personnel who all played an integral role in the team’s success. Sure, the Springboks’ World Cup win had a lot to do with the players on the field but the documentary really showcases what it takes to physically and mentally prepare these professional sportsmen to compete against the best teams in the world.
What has become very clear for me during the COVID-19 pandemic is that our success is not only dependent on our full-time workforce. It’s also dependent on the people behind these people – their families and their support structures at home. This is especially true with most of our team still working from home. Pre-COVID, you only knew your employees through your interactions with them in the office but now that’s changed. When your teams are working from home, you get to see different aspects of who they are and get a glimpse into what their lives look like when they’re not “on the clock”.
An extended family
As leaders, it’s important for us to take care of this extended family and to take time to understand our staff’s priorities outside of work. Gone are the days when your team was confined to the four walls of your office. We must acknowledge how our working relationship with our teams has changed and play a role in supporting the teams that support our staff.
This doesn’t demand that you take over but rather that you equip them with everything they need to work efficiently and effectively. For example, our team members with children were provided with technical support, subsidised hardware and were given an allowance to set up their home offices so that they can get their work done and also so that their children can learn uninterrupted.
Every Wednesday, I host a town hall meeting with our entire team. It’s actually one of the good things that has come out of the pandemic because it gives me the chance to talk to everyone once a week. I recently found out that some of our employees’ wives, husbands and partners have been sitting in on these chats because they are interested in what I have to say. They’re taking the lessons and messages I share to heart and also implementing my advice in the work they do in their own jobs.
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