… Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride
gonna slow me down, oh no
I got to keep on movin’
Leading “BC” (before Coronavirus) was relatively straightforward: Get the troops together, talk about where the enterprise is headed, share assignments and say, “Off you go!” Now, it’s a little more complicated. In order to keep businesses operating, people must work remotely. The problem is, we now must operate in a business-like fashion in an environment where we relax, play, eat and sleep. What can leaders do to help keep things moving forward and give their team members a sense of stability in a turbulent world? Here are five points leaders can use to create an effective replacement picture for the one people are experiencing now.
- Maintain a Daily Rhythm – Your team members are in an unaccustomed place for performing their daily duties. With schools closed, many have kids at home also. Shops are closed, creating additional challenges. Help them establish a stable framework by creating a regular (daily, biweekly) Stand-Up meeting that gets everyone on the same page in terms of issues and priorities. Everyone can check in for their specifics either during the meeting or at individual communications following. Find a time that works best for your business and takes into consideration the unusual circumstances everyone faces.
- Be sure to “Make Face” – Today’s technology gives leaders an enormous edge in maintaining personal contact. There are any number of video-conferencing apps and services that you can employ to be visible with your team members. Leaders should take every opportunity to make personal level connections to help their people stay connected to their purpose. This can be employed in the daily Stand-Up as well as with individual connections.
- Ensure Clarity – In general, clarity leads to engagement. In today’s environment, clarity is even more vital as the workforce is dispersed and it can be difficult and time-wasting to correct when a problem is discovered later. Use the Stand-Up to ask for team members to restate what they believe they have been assigned to accomplish. In that way, they clearly delineate to the leader what accountability they are taking. If there is a misunderstanding, the leader can adjust the message and clarify during the meeting or off-line following.
- Celebrate Successes – The Daily Stand-Up can be used to celebrate victories achieved by team members. By starting off the meeting with “What Went Well” in preceding days, the team begins the cycle on a positive, energizing note which helps propel them into their work. The added bonus is that later in the meeting, leaders can focus on “What We Can Do Better” (not What We Did Wrong) and it provides for constructive guidance.
- Build Trust – Because team members are working from a different environment, they may allocate their time differently than if they were in an office environment. Smart leaders give them the freedom and responsibility to execute what is expected within their own time construct. When your people do this, they choose to be accountable (see my blog, Accountability is a Choice) and you build trust within your organization. Engagement soars within this environment.
When you create a picture that your people can easily see and rely upon, they will integrate themselves more quickly and effectively into this changed environment. Be present for your people and they will respond well, especially in these trying times.