As we continue adapting to a new normal in both the professional and personal spaces, the Zilker Media team will be putting a spotlight on the experts we work with across several different industries to provide external guidance for businesses and their employees.
This week we had the pleasure of speaking with Johnny Merrittt, attorney and equity partner of Hajjar Peters, LLP. Johnny has over 30 years of experience in complex legal corporate and real estate matters and believes clients’ legal needs can be better served through providing on-demand, as-needed fractional general counsel. We are excited to feature him on the Zilker Media blog to provide helpful business considerations for leaders and entrepreneurs as we combat the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Zilker Media: How can business leaders ensure their employees fulfill their commitments while working remotely?
Johnny: Consider your employees’ needs as equally important as the business’ needs. Humans often “mirror” the actions of those they respect, therefore, business leaders who positively influence their employees will continue to see commitment and dedication from these individuals. I view this as a multistep process:
- The first step is for business leaders to consider how they view themselves with regard to employees. The best leaders view themselves as servants who empower those they lead.
- Interact and listen to your employees and their needs right now. Sometimes the best leadership is exhibited with silence. Ask questions like:
- What do you think about COVID-19?
- What are your concerns?
- Do you have special health concerns or other considerations that need to be prioritized?
- Are you caring for small children at your home?
- Or, are you responsible for an elderly parent or some other person who has a greater risk of harm arising from the virus?
- The last step is to find ways to reward employees and follow through on such rewards. Take a look at the food and service industry, for example. These employees are literally “busting their tails” in an effort to provide the rest of us with the essential services and products we need. I am thrilled to witness some of my clients in this industry who are creatively finding ways to reward their dedicated employees.
Zilker Media: What advice do you have for business owners who are shifting their business structure and planning around uncertainty in the near future?
Johnny: Although there is considerable economic uncertainty right now and without question some businesses will fail, it is important to remember this is temporary and great opportunities will follow.
Consider the past, but look to the future.
Zilker Media: Any additional advice or insight you’d like to share?
Johnny: I’ll leave you with this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a [person] is not where [he or she] stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where [he or she] stands at times of challenge and controversy.”