In these unprecedented times, many of us find ourselves having to adapt to new ways of working. So how can leaders and managers best communicate, motivate and support their teams when we are all working remotely?
For some working remotely has become the new norm. Maintaining team closeness whilst practising social distancing is new unchartered territory and requires a new approach to all that has gone before.
The importance of being a good listener is being highlighted to a new level. How do leaders listen when you can’t be in the same room?
Communication is more than setting up our teams to work remotely. Learning to come to terms with new methods of working, technology and communication platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams is only one aspect.
In this time where we are encouraged to avoid physical contact, maintaining regular personal virtual contact is absolutely key. Providing teams and individuals with the opportunity to express their ideas and views is essential to allow them to help shape the best format of working.
Learning the skills of being a good listener is about adopting the power of pure attention. Effective leaders need to recognise that this time requires them to re-learn new skills too, taking leadership to a new level.
The old style of management which suggests that leading means being the one with the answers, the trailblazer, and the parent, is no longer fit for purpose. As author and speaker Nancy Kline puts it in her book ‘Time to Think’: “real help, professionally or personally, consists of listening to people, of paying respectful attention to people so that THEY can access their own ideas first.” “ When you keep that in mind, you become more effective with people. And people around you end up with better ideas.”
So beyond the tools of setting up remote offices to ensure our teams can work from home what is required is a new style of leader and management, adopting a more empathetic approach, tapping into emotional intelligence to understand what is going on right now for individuals, listening and understanding what is required and what can be achieved. Creating the time and opportunity for ideas and feedback to ensure that teams can continue to contribute, albeit in new ways and creating new ways of thinking and working which can enhance the wellbeing of each individual, our teams and the business as a whole.