A July 2020 article in Harvard Business Review has good advice for communicating with employees during a crisis
Among other recommendations, the authors advise leaders to address concerns about job security. I think this is important, and, in these days of virtual meetings, it should be part of a larger effort by leaders to understand how the people they supervise are faring.
For example, how are they feeling about their jobs? Have their priorities changed? What concerns do they have about the company?
Without the personal interactions that in-person meetings allow, team members can lose their sense of connection and feel isolated. When this happens, a host of negative assumptions may ensue. Team members may feel that leaders don’t appreciate the challenges they face and don’t have their backs. At a time when pulling together is more important than ever, individuals may become defensive and cautious. In some cases leaders will see this as a lack of enthusiasm, even resistance, and have a tendency to become overly definitive in their instructions.
Leaders who are naturally sensitive to the value of strong relationships will tend to make the adjustments they need to make during the crisis, including meeting more frequently. But others who tend to focus more on purpose and tasks may not recognize that the lack of informal, in-person interactions can foster distrust on both sides. As the HBR article details, extra steps are needed.