Leading From Home
Leadership now is more important than ever – how do you lead from home ?
As everyone starts to adjust to working from home and being isolated from their teams how do leaders and managers keep their teams engaged, connected and motivated.
Many companies have been operating remote working for years so they are used to working from home and leading teams of workers in multiple locations. Although I would argue that many of them are incredibly poor at leading / managing remote workers. However many firms are not used to home working. It is completely alien to them, as individuals being able to adjust themselves, and even more so being able to effectively lead and manage their teams.
About 6 years ago I was asked by a large US corporate to run a project for them to look at what was the difference between management, ordinary leadership and inspirational leadership. What I found was that inspirational leaders were outstanding in the following 5 areas:
- Vision – having an inspirational vision for the business
- Communication – they were outstanding at inspiring their organisation through their communication
- Values and Standards – they set and lived high vales and standards
- Decision Making – They only made the decisions they needed to make and allowed their managers and team leaders to make the decisions they needed to make
- Energy – they had personal high levels of energy and were able to create that in their organisation
All 5 of these areas of Inspirational Leadership are even more important now as everyone is working remotely, people are worried about, their health, the future of the business and their future employment.
So let’s look at each one in a bit more detail and what could you do now as a leader to keep your organisation motivated and engaged.
Do you have a Vision for your organisation or your team during the crisis ? Are you talking positively about your business and how it can support / add value to your customers as they struggle ? Are you talking about how your business can innovate to adapt to the changing business situation ? Are you talking about how your business can be getting ready to succeed coming out of the crisis ?
If you are not doing these things then you are not painting a short or long term Vision. When times are hard people look to leaders to have a Vision of the way forward. They need that belief in the business and what they are doing.
What’s your Vision ?
How are you communicating with your teams ? How often ? What are you telling them ?
The most important thing when people are working remotely and during a crisis is that they feel connected. Human beings are pack animals we want to be part of something. We want to know that we are valued. So regular communication with leadership is important and regular communication with your work colleagues is key. There are many ways to do this, but here are a few thoughts:
- All company webinars / conference calls to brief on the status of the business are great, so long as it is regular and gives a reasonable amount of detail about the state of the business and the direction.
- As important are regular small group meetings using technologies like Microsoft Teams and Zoom to allow people to connect and see each other
- 1:1 personal calls from leaders / managers are really important so that they know they are important and you care.
Communication is not just about telling people stuff it is also about creating a forum for your people to be listened to. Asking them their opinion, for their input and connection. Maybe regular employee surveys as well to gauge the mood and feelings during these difficult times.
Positive, future thinking, engaging and innovative communication is the key.
What’s your communication strategy ?
Standards and Values
Setting high standards and values for yourself as a leader while working from home is tough but really important to enable you to set an example and be practically effective.
How do you set high standards and values for your team? My suggestion would be talk to them, engage them in the conversation. How do they want to work? How do they want to stay productive? How do they want to be managed and measured? How do they want to engage?
What are your standards and values and what do you expect from your team?
When everyone is working remotely and your normal leadership meetings are not happening how are you going to ensure that your organisation makes quick decisions with the right information and input?
Do you need to hold more regular operational meetings online? Do you need to change sign off processes? Do you need to look at the decision making process and see how you could remove some steps or make it easier with everyone working remotely?
Having a strategy for the decision making process including how to simplify and move the decision making down the organisation could be important when everyone is working from home in their own space.
High Levels of Energy
How can you maintain high levels of energy and motivation while everyone is working from home ?
This particularly needs some innovation. If we assume that the communication is working well as mentioned above then really how do you bring some energy and fun into the business ?
So far I have seen many great ideas from companies on how to create energy within the business from Zoom beer meetings, to Zoom quizzes, to fancy dress meetings. I guess the key here is be innovative and have some fun with it.
Inspirational leadership is more important now than ever. Those leaders that work hard at the 5 areas mentioned above will come out the other side positively with engaged and motivated employees.
Stay safe and enjoy innovating as you work from home.
All the best……………… Neil……………………..