If you are leading a team from your new office environment – AKA the kitchen – and wondering how to stay on top of work and keep your staff engaged and productive, we have some great tips to keep you on track.
- Be clearer than ever about your team’s purpose. This may have changed since the lockdown, if only temporarily. A team that has a strong sense of purpose is more engaged.
- Be the leader you aspire to be. Be clear about how you come across as a leader; think about what it’s like to be led by you and how you’re seen as a leader by your team and try to bridge any gaps.
- Re-contract with your team. All our relationships with members of our team have a “contract” eg. performance expectations; emotional and physical availability; how we communicate. What does this contract look like under Covid-19 and now that we are physically separate? Especially regarding communication. There may be times when people can’t speak or would prefer to communicate by phone/Zoom instead of email to have more human engagement. It may be advisable to use an email footer along the lines of: “I’m sending this email at a time that suits me, but please feel free to respond at a time that suits you.”
- Adapt your leadership style to meet your team’s needs either: a) according to each team member’s style and preferences, b) according to their skills, experience and competence or c) according to what motivates them – find out by asking them what they enjoy and value.
- Use structure, but lightly. This will help with business planning. In the current situation, it has been established that people like structure; it helps them to feel valued. Bring structure to your week and decide which team “events” should be mandatory and which should be optional.
- Help the team to stay resilient. Make it acceptable for individuals to say, “I’m not ok.” It’s your job as a leader to make sure your team knows that. You can role-model your own vulnerability, talk about your feelings and what you need help on - and how you’ve coped - and encourage people to find something that works for them. However, don’t expect it to be the same as what works for you.
- Help manage individuals’ anxieties. Reassure people, where you can. Be transparent and honest and be upfront about what you don’t know i.e. “I’m not sure about the long-term impact of this.”
- Be flexible and have fun eg. organise team quizzes and encourage team ideas. Perhaps even suggest taking part in a Joe Wicks team fitness workout.
This sage advice formed the basis of a webinar in Voice At The Table’s new Tuesday@10 series.