As thousands of people still continue to work from home, a successful leadership coach has provided his top tips on how to maintain good leadership in a virtual world.
Over the past seven months, following the coronavirus outbreak, we have seen lots of advice and hints online on how to work from home, but yet, little has been done on how to be an effective boss while your team is dispersed.
And though working remotely has been going on for half a year, some business leaders are still figuring out the best ways of managing their team virtually.
Neil Jurd, who runs his own leadership coaching business and recently launched a bespoke course designed for remote learning on how to be an effective leader, has shared his top tips on how to be the best virtual leader for your business.
He said: “At the start of the pandemic, we weren’t sure how long we would have to work from home for, so people just made do and managed. They made the process work but lost sight of leading the people. And that lack of leadership and focus on process and management seems to have become deeply embedded. Human interaction is chocked by a layer of formality.
“Online conference feels stilted, grown-ups have to put their hands up to speak, it is really difficult to read the mood of a meeting and body language is hard to read.
“Now that working remotely is being encouraged once again, businesses need good and effective leaders. We can’t rely on people to just manage, organisations need effective and energetic leadership, especially in order to survive during this turbulent time.
“My top tips are just the basic essentials every leader should follow in order to keep moving on with the task ahead while keeping in mind the importance of their employees’ well-being.”
Be really clear what you are trying to achieve and what you want your colleagues to achieve in their task.
Having a clear and compelling purpose every day is a great motivator, and it helps align the activity of dispersed teams.
Work hard to stay connected to the people you lead and the people you work with. We are missing out on ‘water-cooler’ conversations, casual connections because we can’t be face-to-face.
And even though we have to work even harder to recreate them online, it’s crucial for everyone’s mental well-being that we stay connected and reach out to those who might be struggling.
Establish relaxed and creative conventions for your online meetings. People tend to be too polite and wait for their turn to speak.
And, this means a lot of the energy and natural flow of meetings is usually lost. So why not try to disrupt that by encouraging people to feel free to speak without putting their hands up.
You have to work harder to understand emotions and feelings online (in a physical meeting most of us have a sense of what others might be feeling, from their body language, noises and subtle clues), but these are essential parts of team leadership. So watch closely for visual clues, and sometimes just ask people how they feel about what is being discussed.
Keep working on developing the team. Having talks about how you work, your team culture, are just as important as talking about your output. So make time for honest chats about how to build and maintain a great culture and positive relationships.