Leading Remote Teams Through Crisis and Change
All of us are going through a change right now. That means our businesses need to change. We as leaders must show up differently in the midst of change and crisis. Do any of these statements resonate with how you are feeling?
- You’re a leader who has uprooted your team to full remote-working setup.
- Overnight, their ‘normal’ changed into the unknown and so did yours.
- You’re finding your team are either over-working or unable to focus.
- You’re worried that they’ll overwork and burn-out, or they’ll underwork and you’ll have performance issues on your hands.
- You’re asking yourself questions like ‘How do I manage performance when there’s so much happening in the world right now?’
If the idea of managing a team through business change and a world crisis stresses you out, I can make you two promises:
- You’re not alone.
- You’re in the right place.
Do you believe in order for your business to improve in a remote work environment, you’ve got to learn how to be a better remote work leader?
Let me show you a few tricks that helped me and my clients get over the ‘stress factor’ we felt during the transition from working in office to working from home. I believe they’ll help you too.
Everything around us seems to be rapidly changing and although that feels overwhelming, you will take your power back when you start to simplify.
The first area to simplify starts with your own life. As a leader, you can’t expect to show up at your best when your life is complex and stressful.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Showing up as a great leader during this time means putting yourself first. Read that again. And again, until it sinks in.
I see thousands of leaders who keep trying to serve others when they haven’t served themselves. Their efforts fall short because they aren’t sustainable.
So, what does it look like to put yourself first?
Ask yourself, what would a day, a week, a month look like if I started putting myself first?
Maybe it’s that you’ll start to take an hour in the morning, just for you. Maybe it’s that you’ll actually take a lunch break and eat your sandwich away from the laptop
Or that you’ll switch off from work at a normal time in the evening so that you can spend quality time with your family.
Choose at least 5 activities this week that fall under the heading ‘putting yourself first’ and do whatever you have to do to make that happen.
Yes, that might mean rescheduling that meeting or deleting emails off your phone or setting boundaries with your team.
P.S This will feel uncomfortable, like anything new. But watch the magic results of serving yourself first.
How can I simplify the focus for my team?
If you believe that your team will be able to function and perform at the same level they were before this crisis, your expectations are too high.
Sure, you might see some increases in productivity but this doesn’t mean it’s something positive.
Your team are either struggling to focus or overworking. Neither is sustainable and many of them are struggling to find that middle ground.
It’s your responsibility as a leader to support them in identifying what that middle ground looks like for them.
Step 1: Identify the top 3 business priorities right now
Step 2: Explore and get clear on how those priorities will grow the business
Step 3: Communicate those priorities with your team to help them understand how they can contribute to the top priorities
Step 4: Cut out the noise. Anything that doesn’t feed into your priorities right now, is noise. Cut out the noise for you and for your team.
Your mission, vision and business purpose is more important than ever right now.
That’s right, it’s time to dig out that company culture document and explore those values that got you and your team this far.
During a time of change, people require a purpose more than ever.
Step 1: Take some time to explore how the mission and values of your team contribute to the bigger picture.
Step 2: How does that mission align with the priorities in step 1? (N.B, it should)
Step 3: What aspect of your mission is most important right now and why?
Step 4: What does showing up with that mission look like for your team? (Start this open discussion with your team to increase engagement and understanding of the mission)
Step 5: Take time to recognise when your team ‘live s’ this mission and these values. Appreciation and recognition is the highest contributor to performance, so start appreciating your team’s efforts and it will pay off.
3. CREATE VALUE
How are you and your team creating extra value for your customers and prospects at every interaction right now?
What we all have in common, is that we’re all experiencing this change. We are all adapting and adopting new ways of being and doing business.
Whether you work B2C or B2B, creating extra value for not only your customers but your prospects is the best way to future-proof your team’s efforts.
Step 1: Host a team discussion with this exact question in mind. This can be included in a team meeting, or you can host a separate brainstorming session.
(N.B give your team a heads up on the discussion so they can best prepare their ideas and thoughts)
Step 2: Listen. Listen to your team’s ideas. Ask the right questions that will help them reality test their ideas like ‘Great idea. How do you envision that working?’ or ‘That sounds great, how will we measure the success of that idea?’
Having this discussion should help your team get excited about new projects while also putting your customers at the core of your efforts.
Connected conversations are the foundation of team success.
Newly formed remote teams struggle to find the right balance. Teams are either over-communicating and feeling exhausted by too many meetings or they’re not communicating at all.
How can we sustain our team by having connected conversations?
What has worked well so far? What hasn’t worked well?
Step 1: Ask yourself the above questions. Where do you see room for improvement? What communication touch points aren’t serving a purpose for your team?
Step 2: You guessed it. Use these questions as a way to understand your team’s communication experiences. Only when you hear their experiences, will you beable to make meaningful change.
If you’ve implemented the strategies above, you’re committed to reinventing yourself, your team and the business to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
Let’s be real here. Many business owners consistently go back over these steps again and again. Rising above through business change and uncertainty requires a commitment to consistent improvement.
Consistent improvement as a leader requires you to ask yourself and your team the powerful questions that not only test the reality of the current situation but expand your team’s thinking and ideas.
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