Leading a team when forced to adopt Home Working practices, when the dynamic has always been face to face quickly presents challenges for both the team and the leader.
Here are some ways to get over the hurdles that remote working brings to the team dynamic.
Whilst the vast majority of office communication is informal and happens by itself there is no immediate replacement for those moments. Leaders need to make space and be intentional to bring about moments when the communication and community can be developed. That’s not just one-to-one conversations, but creating “water-cooler” moments when the team can just catch up.
It is important for the leader to create these moments without forcing a conversation. Whilst the team needs space to grow it needs to be adopted in a way which allows the individual personalities to take part on their own terms.
The frequency of any team get togethers will depend on the nature of work and the team dynamic, but at least weekly have a drop in team meeting on Zoom or another conference facility available to everyone. It will likely develop in a more social direction, and try not to have a set agenda.
My team all have their own issues to tackle during lockdown, from homeschooling the kids to taking care of family members. Flexibility from leaders will be repaid, but equally it’s important to set the expectations from the start.
Be clear about what the business requires, and where there is opportunity for a bit of flex. No team member can excel if they lack a clear understanding of what the team goals and needs are.
Have an Open Door
Whilst having a regular team get together can help avoid potential problems, having an open door for your team to communicate with you will go a long way to preventing car-crashes.
Set the boundaries, but make sure your team know they can get you if they have to.
Use Technology Wisely
My team have always had a WhatsApp group to keep in touch, but we have stepped this up during lockdown. To keep focus and also allow a chance for the team to vent we have two groups – one for work and another for social. We don’t miss the bread and butter, but we can still send the silly videos doing the rounds.