Working from home is a drastic shift from walking into the office every day and engaging with peers. However, this new normal is here to stay. Many who have joined new companies and taken on new roles since the advent of remote working are still grappling with the processes of managing teams without connecting with them the way we would if we were to meet them in person.
How do we work on this problem to get the best possible outcome while mentoring teams remotely? Here are a few simple steps that you can inculcate in your daily meetings and routines that will help you form a better bond with your team members.
- Begin with virtual introductions
This is a significant first step for people who have just recently joined a new company. Use this time to listen, learn and introduce yourself in various settings with everyone at your organization. Try limiting group meetings to six or seven people that will help you better understand the employees and gain their perspectives on various subjects.
People tend to rely on their charming personalities to make a good first impression; however, via virtual calls, it is difficult for that to come through; an excellent skill to rely on during virtual meetings is good observational skills. Casey, CFO at WalkMe, believes in having those ‘unstructured conversations’ with his colleagues to find out how they are doing to draw a level of trust that has served him well.
- Get organized
Prioritize and focus on the most important task for team members, even with the many distractions while working remotely. Give team members a 2-3 week goal that can be mutually agreed upon. List down several tasks that could be as simple as:
- Come up with a new concept for social media
- Find new ways to increase traffic to the site
- Suggest improvements to the old processes
- Implement the changes discussed
Over time, team members may face certain roadblocks due to time zone challenges, distractions at home, and delays. It would help if you observed how they manage these issues and execute their tasks by the end of the trial period.
Based on the results from the criteria above, it will better help to assess the candidates and give them feedback to put them on the right path.
- Review progress regularly
Schedule meetings regularly to check the progress. These check-ins are vital so that progress does not falter and any issues can be resolved immediately. For longer projects, review the relevant milestones as every day would not be practical. Apps like Trello are great for this and work meticulously.
The app tracks progress on the board for each task and is visible to every team member. After a task is completed, it can be shifted to the completed section for everyone to know, while new tasks can be added.
- Let go of formality but emphasize accountability
Being flexible is key to embracing new working realities, especially when some employees are looking after their children who are homeschooling or tending to their family that have tested positive for COVID-19. How we deal with this today will be the foundation of our work models in the future.
However, informality should not lead to a lack of accountability. Accountability is and always will be the cornerstone of shared success — between clients, colleagues and employees. If we can hold ourselves accountable, it will help us achieve a culture of accountability, contributing to better results.
As Courtney Lynch, Founding Partner at Lead Star, said, “Leaders inspire accountability through their ability to accept responsibility before they place blame.”
We are shaping the future models of working, and we must implement good strategies that will benefit all the stakeholders in the process. As John C. Maxwell, Leadership Speaker, said, “To collaborative team members, completing one another is more important than competing with one another.”