With most people now working from home, managers are facing new challenges as they try to navigate the ‘new normal’. Business coach and Senior Lecturer Alex Morgan, of Leicester Castle Business School at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), gives her five top tips to help people managing a team remotely.
1 KEEP IT HUMAN
Managers need to make that extra effort to meet with their people online. Think about what happens in the office, how you behave and how you approach your team and try to replicate that experience online. I would recommend scheduling individual meetings with your team, and then meet with the whole team once a week – and make sure everyone’s faces are on screen so people can imagine where all their colleagues are working and build connection.
2 LEARN TO LISTEN
Managers have got to put their listening hat on and ask coaching style questions, like: how are you doing? What are you dealing with?
Your team might be dealing with other family members, finding it difficult, feeling anxious. We have all got other things going on the background, but people deal with challenges differently. Be honest about what you are dealing with if it helps to share, and it gets people to talk. Once they begin to talk, you have to stay in the listening space.
It is a different way of being instead of breezing around the office. These are life lessons we are being taught at the moment we have got to be more human, recognise our relationships.
3 TRUST YOUR TEAM
If you can’t physically see people working, you have to trust that they are. But people’s working patterns may be different in these times. Some people will concentrate their work into bursts as they work around their home circumstances.
If you have these regular touchpoint conversations, you will have built that trust between you. By having regular coaching conversations, you can help to keep people focused on what they want to do, as well as company priorities.
5 CREATE COMMUNITY
Do social things – some teams are doing quizzes or Friday night drinks at 5.30pm and making them as they would be, non-compulsory but a lot of fun.. People who might have thought of themselves as introverted may actually be missing the company of coworkers. One client told me that someone who rarely spoke in the office has turned into the social organiser, running online meet-ups and quizzes. It’s interesting how different personality types are reacting to the situation.
Posted on Tuesday 12th May 2020