Up to some months ago most companies’ daily reality was about physically working in an office. In such “physical” work environments, even more with the so popular open space offices layouts, employees were visible to others during the most part of the working day. This made them very much aware that their behaviours and attitudes could always be possibly observed or evaluated. Depending on the companies’ cultures and rules you could find offices where employees spent more time pretending that they were working rather than doing so.
In that aspect working remotely changes the rules and is much more effective: you stop losing time and energy in pretending.
Nevertheless, when working remotely, even if you can control how and when you are visible to others, you cannot hide anymore. When having meetings, you cannot compensate your possible lack of competence or engagement with your communication and social skills.
In the past employees could eventually hide and still be credible. It is not possible anymore.
Being involved is not enough. You must be engaged, active and performing.
What is the consequence for leaders?
Ambiguity is no longer possible. Working remotely means you need to be much more precise and clearer about information, assignments and support. You cannot take anything for granted. You need to make sure people are aligned and committed. Communication and proactivity are key.
The other challenge is to remotely keep the team together. How can you do that?
You need to create spaces for people to interact as a team and one to one…but always keeping momentum, avoiding everlasting virtual meetings that kill the energy and the connection.
Finally, the main difficulty leaders are facing today is managing fear and uncertainty. The confinement restrictions were lived very differently by each one of your collaborators and the levels of stress and insecurity can be very different but also very high for everyone.
We are in the middle of a profound crisis in which we will need to invent new ways of connecting with our teams, but also face and manage the way we confront and handle ourselves these situations. More than ever our ability to have empathy, be present, close and supportive with our team members, our capacity to really listen and understand where they are, and the way we will support them will be key to our team’s future successes.
How do you manage this yourself?