We are living through unprecedented times of continuous, sustained crisis and fear. The Covid pandemic has changed the way in which we work, live and interact. Our workplaces have become virtual – we have had to reimagine the way in which we manage and lead our teams successfully. Leading teams during these tough times is a significant challenge. This is where the real leaders and innovators are separated from the rest.
The requirements of modern Managers are that we want to ensure the task is completed in the stipulated time with minimal escalation. Also, we would need to appreciate that the needs of your team members are varied and therefore require different responses. Indeed, different strokes for different folks.
Through our interactions with a wide range of Human Resources professionals over these trying times, we have been able to extract four tenets for working virtually. This may be applied in your workspace with great effect.
Gone are the days when your team member would come to your desk or ping you using technology-enabled tools (Skype, Teams, Zoom etc.) for any clarification they need. The virtual environment requires that you always be available during office hours to sort out any query. Do listen and reflect about the issue, and then resolve it.
Communicate – Communicate – Communicate
Ensure that you are clear in communicating what your expectations are and how you measure success. Also, at the cost of repeating, do convey the same message in different words and tone to ensure accuracy of understanding. Avoid any acronyms and jargon unless you are sure everyone gets it.
Be On Top Of Facts
Ask lot of questions to ensure accuracy of understanding and the deliverables. It would help also to have your data points ready to support and enable any decisions swiftly. If there is any deviation, then motivate the team to realign them to the goals and stay focused on the long-term objectives.
This is one of the most important yet overlooked qualities in a winning team. Team members are human and may end up making errors or missing timelines. It is critical that the management does not immediately react but instead analyze the reasons, and render the necessary support required to not repeat the same mistakes.
Instead, be a coach to them and very importantly, be a genuine human being. The team will respond better to encouragement and understanding and get on track with the deliverables.
Do anticipate that there will be ups and downs, twists and turns. Your role is to stay safe, focused and calm and navigate through the challenges. Remember, you are the engine that drives the train and you set the pace for your team.
Wish you all the best on your new career discovery as a manager.
– TR Harish (Head – People Strategy)