Remote Leadership Fact Sheet #1: Leadership effectiveness
COVID-19 has prompted many companies to ask some or all of their employees to work from home. For managers whose teams typically meet in the office, this can pose a number of new challenges: A virtual team requires, that leaders become virtually twice as competent, including setting clear goals, holding exciting meetings, communicating clearly, and leveraging individual and collective strengths of the team members.
1. Leadership effectiveness: Clarity
For technical reasons, the new media punch out important non-verbal components in communication. It is therefore easier to misinterpret u. U. strengthened by language or cultural barriers. When transitioning to the home office, managers should give top priority to clear communication.
- This means helping employees to limit their availability: when are they available for different needs, and how they face challenges such as: housekeeping or childcare.
- Managers must also define new metrics of success. It’s less about how much is done. Instead, focus on what is achieved. It’s about results, not activity.
- While managing virtual teams, it becomes more difficult to achieve a common goal among the employees. Managers should clarify goals and roles for their entire team. It is important that everyone understands the team goals, their individual role and the contribution of each team member to the result. Clear roles among team members help to understand, when team members can turn to colleagues rather than the manager. Otherwise it can happen that leaders learn about problems far too late. Employees think they can solve everything on site, and only contact their manager when it is actually too late. On the other hand, the clear definition of roles prevents the manager from becoming a bottle neck for decision-making processes.
2. Leadership effectiveness: Contact
Communication is of great importance for virtual teams – with regard to the documentation of decisions and meetings, but also with regard to maintaining contact with team members.
The most successful managers are good listeners, communicate trust and respect, inquire about workload and progress without falling into micromanagement.
- Ask the following questions every week:
o What have you done?
o What are you currently working on?
o Where do you need help?
These three questions allow each team member to take responsibility for their work while the leader can communicate trust.
- Communicate daily. Under the influence of illnesses in the family or news about the case numbers, and companies going bankrupt, the motivation and attitude of every employee can change quickly and unpredictably.
It is crucial that managers recognize their own prejudices. When it comes to sharing responsibilities and assigning tasks, managers tend to rely on those with whom they share similarities.
- To counteract this, create an illustrated list of team members. Keep the list in front of you as you work. This way, you can make more conscious decisions about assigning information and tasks. You may ask yourself, „Did I address everyone today?“ Make sure that you have regular contact with all members of your team.
3. Leadership effectiveness: Connection
People who work from home are likely to feel disconnected and lonely, which impairs productivity and engagement.
Managers may feel stressed about keeping the virtual team on track.
Often, agreed tasks are simply not tackled. Since you don’t see your colleagues in person, goals get out of sight. From a distance, it is simply harder to create a connection. After all, it is not possible to go to a counterparty after a conflictful meeting and pat him on the shoulder.
In order to meet these challenges, it is more important than ever to gain time for personal interaction.
Virtual teams. that used to work together before, already have a personal relationship, on which to build. It is up to executives to maintain these connections, even if people don’t see each other directly.
- This includes prompt feedback.
- According to a Google study, one of the most effective ways to do this, is to conduct video conferencing and devote a few minutes to open questions at the beginning of each meeting, such as: B. „How are you? What are your weekly plans? „
For many companies and managers, the transition to remote working will initially be a challenge. Despite the terrible circumstances, however, it can prove to be valuable practice for the future. There will be distributed and virtual organizations long after the corona virus pandemic has receded. By not tying work or collaboration to a specific physical location or a specific synchronous moment, a world of new possibilities is created.
In proven collaboration, the Institute for Leadership Dynamics (ILD) and Psychologie Halensee have developed a joint online program to strengthen resilience and leadership effectiveness in crises: the Remote Leadership & Collaboration program.
The fact sheets are part of the info package for internal employee communication with curated and quality-assured expert content on organisation, communication and health under the conditions of remote leadership & collaboration