Leadership when teleworking is the norm
On Friday, Belgian's government gave a press conference on the CoVid 19 exit-strategy. One of guidelines for businesses that stuck in our heads was "teleworking stays the norm". It seems that this way of working won't be a temporary phase we just have to get through. Instead, it will be our reality for at least the following couple of months and even (partly) so after that. What does this mean for you as a leader? How can you show leadership to your team in times where teleworking is the norm?
Set up a feedback structure
When working physically together, you see each other work and probably talk about the job and how you handle it more often during informal moments. This makes it way easier to give feedback and share learnings with each other. Where setting up a feedback structure is already crucial for teams that physically work together, it becomes a necessity for virtual teams. That is, of course, if you want to enable your team members to continuously grow and improve.
One question that creates a feedback and sharing environment is "Did everything go exactly as you wanted this week?"
Invite everyone to speak up and make sure that you as a leader make them feel safe in doing so: be appreciative if they openly share, emphasize that failing is ok and always be respectful.
It can be harder to stay motivated, working from home all day. The lack of change of scenery as well as not being able to see your personal impact can have a negative effect on people's drive. You don't get to see the happy faces of your customer, you don't get that compliment from others when walking in the office corridors, you don't see how your input is used by colleagues. Make sure that, as a leader, you provide your team with a why, a purpose or a vision they can work towards and celebrate every little step on the way. Someone had a successful client meeting? Yay, celebrate! Someone facilitated a great workshop with a new online tool? Yay, celebrate! Someone delivered the first wireframe for the webpage of that new product? Yay, celebrate!
Strengthen the bond
Out of sight, but not out of heart. Make that your new motto! In order to make that happen, spend enough time on strengthening the connection within the team. It's key for a successful collaboration as well as an important part of the emotional wellbeing of your team members. Do not cut back on team meetings or face-to-faces. Instead of making it a one-direction information sharing session, make it interactive and give everyone the opportunity to share learnings, questions, concerns and so on. Prepare this well upfront and see if you can integrate some fun team exercises!
Maybe you can even use this moment to let your team shine and take a step back as a leader? If your team sees you as an equally important person instead of someone higher in hierarchy, it will make them feel more safe to share in all honesty. Need some guidelines to facilitate online sessions, check it out here!
Want to know more about leadership and building a safe team environment? Don't hesitate to contact us!