Social Distancing Versus Physical Distancing | Part 2 | CLS

Social Distancing Versus Physical Distancing: Part II

The first blog in this two-part series attempted to do two things:

  1. Distinguish social distance from physical distance:
    1. Physical distance at this juncture in our lives is a necessary and unavoidable mandate.
    2. Given that given we need to minimize social distance by whatever means necessary and enhance the quality of our connections with the people that matter to us most.
  2. In organizations, leaders are the drivers of that connectivity. In that regard, they need to:
    1. Overcommunicate with the members of their teams in particular.
    2. Listen like they’ve never listened before!
    3. Take action to facilitate multidirectional communication and connectivity between others.

Let’s do a bit of a deep dive into the whole notion of overcommunication. For our purposes, consider the following definition:

Overcommunication: Initiating increased and ongoing opportunities for others to provide insight into their circumstances, while ensuring each is aware of the value they bring to our team

First and foremost, overcommunication is a thoughtful and highly intentional endeavor … especially now! You aren’t “checking a box” or “going through the motions” because, if you do, that’s exactly what you’re going to get in return:

  • “Hey … just checking in … you good?”
  • “Yep … all good, thanks.

Keeping our two-pronged definition in mind, consider there are quick-hitting, impulsive prompts you can proactively develop, then put in motion with others (by phone, text or chat), that have a strong probability of getting you the kind of personalized insight you seek:

  • “Tell me three things that are on your mind right now in order of priority.”
    • “What in particular is going on with that?”
    • “How is that impacting you?”
    • “What else?”
  • “What has surprised you most in the last week?”
    • “What effect has that had on you?”
    • “What effect has it had on other members of your family?”
    • “How do you see this challenge getting resolved?”
  • “If you were managing this team in the middle of this mess, what would you be doing differently?”
    • “What else?”
  • “Tell me something positive you feel will eventually come out of all this?”
    • “What else?”

There is also sincere and specific attention you can document in a more formalized manner regarding the value a member of your team brings to the feast. Consider an intermittent, hand-written note delivered to an associate’s home for two reasons:

  1. For the foreseeable future, we know that’s exactly where they are going to be!
  2. There is something about the walk to the mailbox and the opening of the envelope that makes these kinds of antiquated communications feel like opening a present … which (by the way) is precisely the point!

I just wanted to send you a quick note and document what an honor it is to work with you. I’m not even sure you are aware of the calming effect you have on me and others on the team as we work our way through all this uncertainty. Your impact and value in that regard were on active display during our virtual huddle-up this morning. Sincere thanks.

At this juncture, if you find yourself saying something like: “Good managers already do this sort of thing … and have been forever,” you will get no argument from me!

But, right now, for all the reasons you are already so well aware of, simple strategies like overcommunicating and listening can make all the difference in the world! Stay safe! Take some action! Hang in!


  1. Draft three or four quick-hitting, impulsive prompts you can use with your team to get them talking.
    1. Send or use in texts, chats or impromptu calls this week.
  2. Send a personalized note to a member of your team highlighting their talents, contributions and overall value.