Two steps forward, one step back
Regression is one of the three phases in any crisis (between the emergency and recovery phases). It can last a long time, especially during a period when you can’t make plans for the future and don’t change your routines.
And here’s the paradox: In the first weeks of lockdown, the disappearance of work routines triggered a surge of energy – everyone swung into action to tackle Covid in a stimulating, collaborative effort, when decision-making was rapid and effective. This positive reaction was typical of phase one of a crisis – urgency. The initial phase was quickly followed by a regression phase, when teams – who were now weary – marked time, lost their purpose and started squabbling over trivial matters.
How can you get through this delicate stage? First of all, disrupt your team’s routine: Change the way it is organized, redistribute roles, and give new responsibilities and missions to everyone – which will give your troops a boost.
Second, talk openly and honestly about everyone’s emotional state – and this is new too – so they can all find support inside the team. Finally, redirect your energy toward future solutions, transforming your team into essential contributors to the world of tomorrow so they don’t get stuck in daily post-crisis management.
(Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg, Harvard Business Review, May 2020).
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