These are exceptionally trying times for employees around the world, and in particular leaders who are having to run operations remotely. With self-isolation now the norm for the majority of workers, how can managers ensure that their teams are motivated and performing to their best?
In a very short period of time, we have seen our working realities change immensely. Where we were able to see and interact with our colleagues only a while ago, many of us are now faced with a new reality of homeworking. As human beings used to social interaction, this can be a very difficult transition to make.
Now more than ever it’s important for managers to show empathy as personal circumstances of each individual in their teams may vary. Some may be living alone or having to tend to kids. Other may have worries concerning their finances or loved ones. It’s hard enough as it is, so this is the time for managers to step up. While targets and objectives still need to be met, it’s not all about KPIs!
And as upbeat as you may normally be, it won’t always be easy for you to be positive, having to deal with so many things on your plate. So if you feel things are getting on top of you, make sure you take some time out. Go for a walk or talk to a colleague about your issues – you’re not a miracle worker and you have to take care of yourself too. And you certainly don’t have all the answers, so just be as honest and transparent as you can.
A matter of trust
Communication is of course key. Where weekly team meetings may have been the norm previously, you may need to revert to daily meetings. While this may be a drain on your time, you have to consider the mental wellbeing of each individual. Regular team and one on one catchups via video linkup will help you detect any underlying stress, for example.
WhatsApp and WeChat groups are another great way to keep everyone involved and feeling part of a team. Why not start the day with a virtual breakfast or coffee to set the objectives for the day? Team drinks to celebrate achievements at the end of the week is another variant. It’s important to maintain those office traditions as much as possible. You might want to share some inspirational quotes to motivate the troops.
People also need to feel that they are trusted to do their jobs, so allow them the breathing room to take the initiative. As the American stage and film actor, Will Rogers, famously said, “In times of crisis, people want to know that you care, more than they care what you know”. Good managers show this in abundance – a quality that’s much needed in the current circumstances.