You know that your team looks up to you and relies on your leadership skills to keep projects moving and to keep the synergy flowing. But with the shift to working remotely, almost everything about your business, systems, and management style have had to change. This can make for a difficult transition; you might even find yourself facing pushback from your team members, or worse, second-guessing your own leadership skills.
But there’s no need to doubt your leadership skills! It’s simply a matter of figuring out how to transfer these skills to the new work environment. Here are the top three things you can do to make sure that you’re making the most of your leadership skills, even when you’re working remotely.
If you’ve spent any time working remotely, you know that doing things online is nothing like getting things done in the office. All of the rhythms and systems that you’d come to rely on for productivity are now out the window, and the entire team has to adapt to an entirely new set of systems. Time management, even if it was a forte while in the office, has become a huge hurdle.
As a leader, it’s your job to make sure that people know what to expect during the course of adapting to these new systems and rhythms. You need to communicate clearly with your team, and you need to make it absolutely clear as to what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. In this way, you’ll all be able to move as a team towards your goals, despite the learning curve that is sure to come with adapting to these new systems.
When you communicate clearly and manage the expectations that you have of your team – and the expectations that your team has of you – you’re transferring your leadership skills out of the office and into the online arena. If you’re looking for some help for developing your interpersonal and communication skills, especially in this time of limited contact, talking to a BetterHelp licensed professional can be a great first step! For a review and analysis of the best online counseling and therapy services of 2020, check out this link: https://www.regain.us/advice/general/betterhelp-is-it-the-best-online-therapy-and-counseling-platform-in-2020-and-why/
Re-Assess the Strengths of Your Team
Knowing the strengths (and weaknesses) of your team members is one of the skills that makes you a good leader. But when the context of the team’s work is upset and changed so drastically, you’re going to have to re-asses the strengths of your team again. With new remote working systems, new skills and strengths are necessary to make the team work well, and work productively together.
Before you jump into each project, take a bit of time to assess each team member’s skills and strengths, specifically in the context of the new project. Remember, with remote working, the project no longer involves just your business expertise or field of work. Instead, you also need to factor in each team member’s ability to respond to any software, schedule, and systems that are applied to the project. For example, you might have a newer employee who doesn’t have the same expertise as someone who has been in the business for twenty years. However, this newer employee has a better grasp of the software that is necessary to complete the task remotely, and can therefore complete the task in a much shorter amount of time.
The way that you assign tasks, and the criteria for deciding who is best for each task, is turned on its head when it comes to working remotely. As a leader, you need to take these new factors into account when assigning tasks, and you need to make your decisions clear. Be open with your reasons for assigning certain people according to their strengths, and offer support and training opportunities for team members who might be a bit slower to adapt to the new systems and rhythms of working remotely.
Be Open to New Systems
New contexts for work will inevitably lead to new ways of getting projects done. You’ll likely find yourself managing your team with new software and schedules, which might take some time to learn and get used to. You might also find that members of your team have great recommendations for new ways to complete projects remotely. Even if the recommendation is coming from a newer employee who might not have years of experience in the field, it’s a good idea to hear them out.
Remaining open to new ways of doing things – and encouraging your team members to do the same – is a great way to build flexibility and teamwork. You can set aside a short part of a weekly meeting for recommendations and possible solutions for systemic issues that were faced during the week. Or, you can send an email every week or two that specifically asks for ideas about how to make the existing remote working systems more productive or user-friendly.
Working remotely poses new problems and dynamics for every team, and in your role as leader, it’s your job to mitigate the fallout of shifting to working from home. Your leadership skills, along with the application of these skills, need to change and adapt along with your team’s situation. By continuing to communicate clearly and openly with your team, even if the method of communication has changed, you can help the entire team manage expectations during the period of change. Then, as you move forward in the remote working process, you have to re-assess the strengths of your team so that you can be allocating work based on the new skills that the online environment requires. Finally, it’s important that you remain open to new systems and suggestions that are sure to arise from your team during this period. It’s important to stay flexible, and to remember that just because a system allows you to finish the job, there’s likely a newer and more productive way that it can be done.
Your leadership skills are totally transferable to this new work context, even if the process of adapting to the new systems in which they will be applied takes a bit of time.