Is your leadership really ready for this? Some countries seem to be moving close to normal life after all the Covid limitations. It is not the old normal, but a creation of the new.
Leading people and leading oneself are not easy, when the reflection is either limited or mostly missing. That puts us all under stress and increases hugely the risk of mistakes and misunderstandings. The new normal in many offices includes a lot of remote work. People might well be working a couple of days a week at the office and not see some other people for weeks, due to schedule differences. Getting information, feedback and support to our motivation will be limited. Small mistakes and misunderstandings will start to erode the organizational cohesion. Micromanaging easily starts to take more place, because we don’t see people so often. Things don’t turn in to negative side over night, but very slowly.
There are organizations, which have been using remote work and distance leading for years. And they have succeeded in this. So, there are lessons to learn, ways to cope, when we are ready to learn those lessons. One of the false hopes is, that life would / could carry on as it used to, even the way o working has changed. Using old tools in the new situation will not deliver the results we used to get. There are some very basic rules, which will help you to lead your team and yourself. Using the following tools, you will improve your wellbeing, your teams cohesion and productivity. You know, we have found out that some of the best remotely working teams reach higher results than their peer teams working face to face!
“Why”, a simple question, yet so very important. We assume and get it all wrong, that everyone remembers why the organization does exist. On remote work, make the why visible weekly. Share and discuss it with people. The “why”, or the mission if you prefer that, helps people to focus on the right quality aspects. Do you truly remember what the “why” for your organization is? If the why is missing or unclear, you have already lost part of your productivity!
“Where to” is the next important point to discuss. On remote and independent work the goal, vision or aim is the second important tool. Where do you want to get personally and/or with your team. Do people know it, really? Answering “where to” gives people a lot of guidance in their work. That gives them reason to become motivated. And that gives them focus on their doing. Like it gives you focus on your actions and life!
What to do, and what not to do, this is also known as strategy. The choices made often are forgotten during the busy daily life. The most important part of this is really choosing the areas and actions, you do not want to put your energy in. Remote work opens windows for all kinds of interesting sidetracks, all just reducing productivity and eventually increasing stress! Make sure that you have focus, and your team knows what to focus on.
Keeping the above mentioned elements in discussions weekly is based on studies and field experiments. We often think, that everyone know what the answer to “why” / “where to” / “what to do” are. I’ve worked with thousands of people. Less than 1 % can give an answer to all three right away. Even the top leaders have problems saying what their organizations choices are. Remembering the choice is important, because there is always a choice leading us. If it is not the same for all, then there will be doubt, fear and turmoil. Costly beasts running around the organization.
When those things are discussed 10 times with people, there is a good chance of them becoming remembered. Just one warning, the point that you as leader have discussed them 10 times, does not mean that your people have. Another 10 times is needed, before the thing remembered becomes really understood. To convert the information to strong impacting tacit knowledge takes some 20 repetitions more. So about 40 repetitions later, you have hope that those have penetrated the deeper levels of everyones mind.
So that is about one full year. There will be changes in personnel. There will be changes in choices. Every leader, who ignores the people’s need for these, will open the door for expense increase and motivation decrease. On the other hand, like I’ve seen as a leader in my own businesses and as a trainer and consultant with my customers, taking care of those leads to growth and increase in wellbeing! Always!
Would you like to know more? Drop me a line with a few words of your business. I will personally answer you and give you some examples of what people have achieved! Do it know!
Your partner in making success happen, Kari I. Mattila, emotional intelligence advisor