It's all over the news. A potential pandemic. What's the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic? We have all probably googled more in the past week or two than in recent memory for the purpose of pure learning.
As a corporate leader, CEO, entrepreneur, the question is: what does the Coronavirus have to do with your company and what can you do to help it? I'm not working for the CDC nor am I a politician. If you have offices and employees overseas, that's above my pay grade, and I will assume you are handling that in a proactive way.
But in America, where the cases are still small, is there an issue within your company? No, I'm not insisting that any of your employees are carriers of the virus.
What I mean is that your employees are human beings first. Everyone processes information differently and some are more nervous initially than others. As a leader, your job is to calm people down and communicate feelings of how the company deals with issues, big or small, directly or indirectly impacting the business.
After doing research and listening to healthcare experts, I sent a short email to our employees. I stated that antibacterial lotion and soap are effective. Use it. We will have bottles all over the place within our offices immediately (we had some anyway, but now we have it even more present).
I stated that no one needs to shake hands with people if they don't want to. You think I'm crazy? I can't tell you how many people are afraid to speak up at companies about small things that make them nervous. It's getting in front of people's worries that helps make your company a great place to work.
Once you tell people they don't have to shake hands, you have to give them the verbiage (if they need it) on how to explain to people (customers!) why they aren't shaking hands. Yes, not everyone is quick on their feet to explain things to people.
Maybe you think I'm crazy. Maybe you think this is overboard. Maybe you think it's not enough.
All I know is that your staff is talking about the Coronavirus, and if you aren't part of the conversation and leading by example, you are missing an opportunity to lead. And that's what your employees crave, a leader.