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Leadership with Social Distancing

  • By faber
  • March 31, 2020

The novel coronavirus outbreak has affected the workplace mechanics. Organizations have asked the employees to work remotely. There were not given time to adapt to this new setup.  Both the teams and managers were unprepared for this virtual setup.

It is a challenge to manage teams in a virtual environment without face to face interaction with teams. There is a lot of uncertainty. This makes the role of the manager more complicated. Managers need to reset expectations and adapt themselves to this new technique.  Below are a few of the pointers that will make it easy for the manager to work remotely:

Offer Flexibility

Managers need to reset their expectations from the teams and the employees. Earlier the employees were working in an office in a structured work environment. Now the teams have shifted to asynchronous work schedules. So the managers should focus only on the results and not on how the tasks are performed. They should give flexibility to teams to work on their own terms. This means managers should focus only on results.

Stay connected

Managers need to stay connected with employees. Regular video chats, phone calls, messages will help build effective and sustainable communication channels. Do not let go even half a day without connecting with them. Make it compulsory for all of them to be present and attentive.

Learning and Development plans

Make use of this time. Arrange online training and development session for the team. Help them make the best use of this time and upgrade their skills. Make a training calendar. Ask members of the team to nominate themselves and share their knowledge with others. They might focus on a specific tool, technique, skillset, behavior, etc.

Assign Mentors

Create a structure in the team such that each member in the team is assigned a mentor or a coach who will be in direct touch with the employee. This will help the managers to distribute workload, responsibility and organize teams such that it will lead to better engagement levels. The mentors or coaches will be in direct touch with each of the employees and assess their daily performance.

Give attention to patterns and tones of communication

Pay close attention to the tone of written communication also to the volume and pitch in case of voice communication. Changes in the pattern of communication will help the managers better understand the situation of the employees and if they need additional support.

Be optimistic

In stressful situations, leaders or managers need to be optimistic and hopeful about everything at work. This will motivate the team to give in best even in such a time of crisis. Also, do not forget that optimism is contagious. It will help the teams to perform better and find meaning in their work.

Maintain transparency

Stress brings in a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. Be connected to the team. Keep transparency with the team. The more connected you are with the team, the less is the chance of void in communication.

Continuous engagement

Make it very clear with the team that their well-being is of utmost importance. Periodically check with the team about their stress levels. Also, check how stress is affecting their work and engagement at work.

All the employees in such time would be looking for safety. They should feel safe to learn, safe to work and safe to contribute as a team. They should have that confidence that they will always be safe with the organization even in times of quarantine. Continuous learning, emotional wellbeing and safety of the employees should be the priority for any manager today.

Written& Compiled by Faber Mayuri