Managing a team? Well, then in these last few days, you must have been finding yourself confronted with managing your team remotely and It also might be your first time doing so. If so, you are currently experiencing it in exceptional circumstances where we are being obliged to set up remote working solutions as soon as possible.
Last week, most organisations faced technological challenges looking to adapt their infrastructure and tools to enable its people to operate from home. Thanks to technology, you can create unified communication, set up audio-visual conferences or easily share data from anywhere through the cloud services. Creating a digital professional environment for your people is essential to smoothly shift to remote working. From simple action like forwarding the landline to the smartphone so no one will be missing a call to more complex Tech solutions. So, creating a virtual workplace using digital tools is the first step to take in adapting to this new way of working and ensuring business continuity. But even if having the right tech in place is critical, it is not the only ingredient to succeeding.
Adopting the right leadership style is also key. As we all know, the command-and-control management style is dead and that’s a fact. But what management style to adopt in this current context of crisis management? Managing a team remotely requires a participative management style. Encouraging your people, think positively, be solutions-focused, stay approachable, keep an open communication as well as (further) develop a culture of constructive feedback. Creating a newly adapted framework to bring structure was essential in the days of lockdown. No doubt this was the right first step to take. So today, the framework is in place as well as the Tech. So, what’s next?
People are worried, or even scared today and have to navigate through uncertainty. They have a need to be reinsured and understood. In this change management context, transformational leadership style is necessary. This type of leader will inspire and motivate their people by sharing perspective and by being inclusive. They will accompany their teams to adjust to new situations.
Working from home as a new way of working can positively impact companies and society by reducing fixed costs such as the rent of the office space, improving carbon footprint and work life balance as well as increasing cooperation and interdependence.
On the other end, people having fewer social interactions may have to overcome a loneliness feeling. The sense of isolation can be challenging and some of your people will need extra support. Showing ability to listen, appreciation and recognition is essential. As manager, you need to be sensitive to this. Encouraging authentic and frequent dialogues, and interactive communications (phone calls, videoconferencing, etc.) rather than email communication channels will reduce the psychological distance. It is your responsibility to engage your people. Helping your people keep their mental health is part of your role. Human and authentic leadership is at the heart of management in these stormy times. Today more than even, people need guidance and mankind values.
Nowadays, a successful leader can be agile and self-aware when it comes to management styles and consider the nature of the individual (s)he interacts with as well as the ecosystem.
We are experiencing a new way of working. Your professional relationships are now based on trust, engagement and empowerment. The way you manage your relationships will obviously have an impact today but also tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. It is crucial to properly assess the importance of adapting your management style.
Teleworking is part of the new generation, not only working from home but working remotely from anywhere in the world. Digital nomads are the best example here.
As a remote manager, make sure to share the right message with your people. Encourage them to keep active relationships outside of their colleagues. Help them to be best organized, make sure they know how best to manage their time and set their priorities, and use the appropriate communications tools. Nobody knows how long we will be in this distance working set up, so we need to get well prepared.
Working remotely is taking place naturally as a trend in our professional societies. This period is an accelerated learning path to adjust to a new economy. The real leaders will be the ones who can demonstrate human leadership, an agile behaviour and an adaptive mindset. No one can predict the future of work, but digital workplace and remote working will be part of it as a natural evolution of our society model. Let’s use this experience to learn and develop our management skills.
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