Leadership has challenges, and it becomes even more challenging when leading from a distance.
Leadership challenges are not new, nor is the need to be adaptable, understand those we lead, and above all else, stay connected.
Especially now, leading remotely is commonplace for many leaders. Team members formerly together in the same workplace are now working from home, in addition to those already working virtually.
Staying connected is more important than ever as readiness levels for working “solo” varies greatly.
So what does this mean to you as a leader?
Check in regularly with each team member. You’ll find that some are happy to hear from you only if you/they need something, where others may want more frequent contact (perhaps multiple times each day) for a simple “check-in”.
Expect the “unusual” when on calls/video and be flexible; examples include barking dogs, children wanting to be on camera, package deliveries, background noises, unstable connections, etc
Allow flexible work hours. Unless there’s a reason to have carved in stone hours, let each team member set their own schedule.
Regularly communicate. What are the current priorities? Are there any obstacles when supporting them from home? Share individual expectations and ensure all interactions end with closure. This means that everyone involved knows who is going to do what, by when.
Ask how team members are feeling. Have weekly “open forum” team sessions. Invite each person to share their opinion and thoughts about:
– What’s working well and what is not
– What do they like best about being home; what do they like
– Team needs and dependencies
– Suggestions for best practices
– Workload and bandwidth (too much work? Too little work?)
Your team members may not be onsite, but they must have a sense of being connected and feeling valued!
Take the bull by the horns. You are the bull.