Editor’s note: Anthony Caputo is VP of people operations at Remesh.

We are in the middle of an unprecedented global health crisis, volatile economic conditions and other tension – and that is a lot to experience at once, for both leaders and managers. Stress caused by this uncertainty has the power to grab our attention, mask right from wrong and sometimes even change the way we think and act. This poses a real challenge for leaders and managers. So what does successful leadership look like in this period of time?

To gain a better understanding of what it is like to lead and manage through this pandemic, we partnered with Mercer | Sirota at Remesh to conduct a virtual focus group with a convenience sample of 256 employees working in small, medium and large organizations. The research sample, which was drawn mostly from U.S. companies, included employees from different regions, job levels and generations. Three social-emotional findings emerged.

First, the majority of leaders and managers are concerned about COVID-19. When leaders were asked how worried they are that this virus could affect them or their families, 52% said they were concerned or very concerned. The biggest concerns about workplace impact had to do with ambiguity – not knowing how the shift to remote work would impact their jobs and the fear of ineffective flow of information throughout their organizations.

Second, seven out of 10 leaders are struggling with intimacy and isolation. When we asked leaders and managers what their biggest challenges are in managing through the crisis, less than half of them said managing the pressures of living life like social distancing or getting food and cleaning supplies. Their biggest challenges are managing their own feelings of isolation (67%), and a lack of intimacy. Additionally, seven out of 10 leaders and managers indicated that though they’re taking care of family, they are still being ...