Those leaders who are fortunate enough to continue to have their business function and their team working remotely could be experiencing a different type of discomfort and a feeling of being out of control that they may find exhausting.
When you are used to leading ‘in house’ with your team around you, you’re often able to ‘look over their shoulder’ and ‘see’ what they are up to. You can monitor first hand if they are productive or if they are wasting time. You can quickly check-in and ask a question and monitor workflow on the hop. Now your team is remote, it’s removed your ability to ‘see’ and that’s confronting for some.
It can be especially challenging to the control freaks out there, which is not you I know. But still, they are around! This is not meant as any sort of criticism. Not at all, simply an opportunity to try and make things a little easier for you.
Many leaders are still trying to lead as they do in the office. They are juggling as they would in normal circumstances – fielding a huge amount of questions and providing all the answers, constantly checking in with individual team members to see where things are at, dealing with clients calls and queries, managing cash flow. They are trying to control everything and continue to have their finger in every pie. This is very common and is reflective of human nature when we are challenged – we revert to what we know, even if it doesn’t serve us.
Leaders are now realising that their leadership style is being exposed and that it’s not working for them. It’s exhausting, overwhelming and unsustainable. Most of all it’s restrictive.
Now is the time to implement a new way of leading, one that is about empowerment and resourcefulness. Some suggestions are:
- Implement structured daily check-ins that include establishing expectations and later accountability follow ups with the teams who are collaborating together or with individuals working solo.
- Implement structured one on one time with each team member, it may be weekly or fortnightly depending on your business, to simply check-in and provide support.
- Implement consistent and frequent communication framework – this may be team meetings, Friday afternoon get together and something in between
- Be supportive and encouraging – always – via calls and written communication
- Establish the new rules of engagement. For example to help with the enormous amount of question – suggest the questions come accompanied with some solutions, save them for the structured meeting or if it’s urgent to contact you in a particular way.
Leaders need to be protective of their time to ensure they are getting what they need to do done. For example, ensuring the business is functioning as it needs to be now and for the future, that it’s generating what it needs to keep your team onboard, that you’re maintaining your margins and that you’re thinking about the future strategy rather than being caught up in the doing and the busyness of the day to day. Otherwise, your business could be at risk.
Now is a great time to change how you lead and right now, for your own mental health and energy levels, trust and empowerment is super important. Hell, we pretty much have to change and adapt every day, why not do something that will make your life a whole easier!