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Working remotely has its challenges, let alone leading your team through change of their typical work environment. I sit in my home office, a delightfully sunny room, which is nothing apart from my normal routine. Lately, however, I have the addition of my husband sitting in the room next to mine also working from home. This IS a new routine for him as he has never worked from home before. Fun? The jury is still out!
Across the world people are working from new locations, shifting to an environment so different than what it was just days ago. How we transition and communicate as leaders during this historical time will be not only key to running our businesses but may also be key to an employee’s wellbeing.
We have never been externally pushed to merge our work and family dynamics quite like this. Leadership, if done well, will help our employees to thrive, feel valued and be engaged; our families to feel secure during a time of uncertainty.
This is an awe-inspiring call to action for leaders. Our employees and families are watching. The world is watching.
Here is a list of the 9 things good leaders are doing NOW:
- We are communicating. For many of us, our offices have moved to 100% remote work, so this is key! We should never assume our employees know what we are thinking. Rather, we should touch base daily on both group and individual levels, make use of virtual video conferencing platforms like Skype or Zoom, send relevant email updates, and honor individual voices by providing opportunities for each team member to share. There is no such thing as overcommunicating! Communication also offers a chance to learn more about one another. To heighten our communication ability, we can use tools like the DiSC Assessment or Gallup’s Now Discover Your Strengths Assessment to create a common language around social styles/differences. Good leaders also keep in mind that goals, both corporate and individual, are fluid. What was previously top priority may have changed due to new circumstances. We need to communicate those changes to keep the whole team on track.
- We are sharpening the saw (taking self-care). Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, reminds us to invest in ourselves. “Sharpen the saw” simply means to preserve and enhance the greatest asset we have–ourselves. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of our lives: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Sharpening the saw keeps us fresh and energized so our teams will be too.
- We are making hard decisions. Good leaders do not avoid making decisions, no matter how hard. The key is to use all available information to make the best decision possible for the team and to communicate that decision to key stakeholders. Remember, there is no over communication during this time.
- We are demonstrating care. Leaders should be in tune to employee needs. This may seem like a simple gesture but sometimes gets forgotten. Sending a small care package to our teams/employees shows that we are invested in their well-being. Snack foods, movies, inspirational leadership books, gift cards, or self-care products will go a long way in delivering the message. Alternatively, an employee may just need someone to listen. A good leader is asking questions to meet those needs.
- We are recognizing innovation. Spotlighting employees for their good ideas and rewarding innovation is especially important as businesses change. Posts about their good ideas on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or our websites show the world that we value individual strengths and differences. This is also an opportunity for a company, team or individual to reinvent themselves.
- We are having fun. Group yoga or meditation, a virtual gardening group, meme sharing, trivia contests, group lunches, recipe exchanges and shared playlists are fun ways to connect and stay positive. We can also share our favorite tips for working from home, especially if the concept is new to our teammates.
- We are listening. Everyone wants to be heard whether voicing new ideas or personal concerns. The best leaders are present, active listeners. Asking our team for their ideas, checking in on their health, or asking about family members shows compassion while reinforcing open lines of communication.
- We are reaching out. Surveying our teams to see how the group can make a difference shows that we care about the larger, global picture. This can be accomplished by giving online, to a shelter, or pooling our individual efforts.
- We are connecting with our resources. As good leaders, we must leverage our networks and other tools available to us! We can make great things happen by making time for our mentors, coaches, and peer groups, or by idea sharing. It is also helpful to plug in virtual connectivity where our schedules demand. For instance, if we are unable to attend an in-person conference.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn.
If you need more ideas or support putting them into action, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.