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Team leadership during a pandemic – keeping people well

Dr Michael Reilly is a qualified Psychologist and Director at Change Corp. He has previously worked with NHS and public sector organisations on transformation projects such as digital patient pathways, managing change, online mental health services for patients and online education portals for GPs.

Keeping well – happy faces

What is the organisation response to the pandemic? In essence, the promise of the “social enterprise” concept is required to be acted upon. The term “social enterprise” was first cited by Deloitte in 2018 and it is interesting that they have re-visited this concept in their latest Global Trends 2020 survey. A social enterprise is about not just producing, growth and revenue – it is about fostering collaboration at all levels and taking responsibility for the environment and all stakeholders’ needs.

Published prior to the now clear impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the key findings are that organisations must re-define Purpose, Potential and Perspective. Purpose must be more that what the organisation does. It must design work that has the individual at centre, their wellbeing, values and attitudes. Potential is about helping people feel secure in reinvention using technology, knowledge management and building resilience. Perspective is about embracing here and now uncertainty, embracing collaboration and fostering honest transparency between teams.

The conclusions of the Global survey (9,000 respondents worldwide), brings us back to the Change Corp purpose.

In terms of organisation readiness to change – wellbeing was seen as the most important issue (80%) but only 12% of respondents “very ready” for this and 38% “ready”. Interestingly, the second most important issue is sense of belonging to the enterprise.

This reflects what Deloitte call a “huge human capital issue” and out of the survey “Culture” and “Leadership” are the most important enablers to create that sense of belonging.

But team leaders have a new challenge. How to assess the mental health of their team when working remotely and not able to pick up the usual cues in face to face settings? More than half of adults and over two thirds of young people have said their mental well-being has deteriorated since Covid-19 emerged, according to mental health charity MIND.

In addition, research by the Gartner organisation found that 53 percent of employees feel burnt out, 42 percent feel depressed, 55 percent are lonely and 89 percent are worried about their own personal welfare. Consequently, 68 percent of UK organisations introduced at least one new wellness benefit by late March 2020 to aid employees during the Covid-19 pandemic (source: Gartner 2020). The reality for organisations is that they must survey their employees to understand how their needs have changed during the pandemic and where current offerings may be lacking. Progressive organizations are crowdsourcing ideas and guidance on how to support the emotional well-being of their employees.


Change Corp is skilled in implementing such surveys using quantitative and qualitative data to generate a rich picture on how people are feeling during the pandemic. We have also produced a Keeping Well video and Manual for team leaders- which is FREE to download, just follow this link

Keeping Well manual and video 

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[1] The Social Enterprise at Work: Paradox as a path forward, 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends

2 Gartner Report