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3 Steps to Effectively Lead Your Remote Team Through Crisis

Our employees are overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed out. And that was before the Covid-19 crisis! Now they have a whole new mess of problems to deal with: worrying about the virus, fear about what will happen to the economy, working remotely for the first time, trying to manage their kids at home, struggling to adapt to new technology, increased conflict with their partner from being cooped up inside…it’s A LOT. Meanwhile, we’re trying to get them to be as productive as possible and G.S.D (Get Shit Done).

If you’re anything like the clients we’ve been talking to over the last few weeks, you’re struggling just to keep your own head above water let alone be the kind of leader your remote team needs right now. While there’s no manual or precedent for dealing with a large-scale global epidemic in this modern age, we’ve been coaching our clients on how to pivot and adapt their businesses while leading their teams to success. No matter what industry you’re in or what catastrophe you’re facing, there are only three things you need to focus on as a leader to effectively manage your workforce and cultivate high performance.

1) Decrease Fear

Your people are scared. They are facing the unknown just like you.

As their leader your most important job is to decrease their fear. Even if the future looks bleak, your people want to know you have a plan to take care of them and see them safely through this storm. They want to know they can count on you, that you’ve got their back, and you’re here for them. 

One of the most effective ways to decrease fear is to ask your people what they want from you. Start by listening and leaning in. It may be different for every person, but you owe it to them to take the time to ask great questions, be an even better listener, and find a way to meet them where they are. Then authentically contextualize your mission and vision in a way that employees can relate to and find meaningful. And communicate, communicate, communicate. Take a look at our 4 C’s of Connection in Virtual Work – scroll down to get a free copy of our Remote Management Toolbox.

2) Increase Safety

Along with decreasing fear, you need to increase every team member’s sense of safety. When you start by turning your workplace upside down and listening to your people, you’ll have a good sense of where to begin.  Understand that people need people and that we are interconnected beings. The biggest challenge is the lack of community and perceived empathy.

But even more importantly, you’ll have taken a big step toward decreasing their sense of isolation. If your team is working remotely for the first time, they’ll quickly start to feel alone and adrift in the world. It’s up to you to make sure your team is connecting to you and with each other on a regular basis. Have at least two real connections per week that asks how they are doing.  And make sure to use video – verbal communication is only 7% of total communication!  Additionally, appoint a communication czar to make sure it works well with your team.

Start now. Implement daily or weekly video calls. Create a Slack channel where people can check in with each other during the day. And spend time demonstrating you care by coaching your team members through their specific challenges. Let them help each other and create a buddy system. 

3) Solve the Emotional Component

In times of turmoil, it’s normal for emotions to run high. As a leader, you need to make sure you’re helping your team process their emotions in a way that is healthy and productive. Make sure you’re regularly addressing these five areas on your check-ins with your remote team:

1) Self-Care: Discuss the importance of self-care and share strategies for individual success.  Routines, schedules, and how to deal with kids at home and connections.

2) Learn: Make sure your team has the tools and resources to support their learning and development with new skills for the virtual workplace and great communication tips.

3) Growth: If there is down time, encourage personal and professional growth along with real creativity.  What are some great ideas they can come up with for themselves to add big value for a future which will be super different and better than what we’ve experienced?

4) Mindset: Share practical ways each person can work on reframing their thoughts and help them through any mindset blocks. Remember, we need connection and help.

5) Connect: Illustrate the importance of connecting person-to-person and encourage team members to communicate over phone or video instead of email and text.

If you focus on just these three things and follow our hacks and tools, I guarantee you will see dramatic improvement in the performance and productivity of your remote team. While we are all being challenged to work differently, there is NO reason your team cannot continue to execute at a high level.

Need help implementing these strategies? Looking for personalized help for your organization? Reach out to us – the first session is always complimentary! We can deliver virtual keynotes, online workshops, and remote high-performance coaching to help your team continue to succeed and thrive. 

We also recently hosted a webinar on this same topic – click here to watch the replay. It will only be available for a limited time so don’t wait to watch!

Download our Remote Management Toolbox including Our 4 C's of Connection to help you lead your team to success!



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Coaching and Mentoring is the New Leadership Development Training, But How Do You Create That System?

In our launchbox laboratory, we’ve had the pleasure of training and coaching more than 12,000 millennial and Gen Z employees – the workers of the future. And one thing we’ve noticed from working with this group? They want mentoring and coaching on-demand. Not old school leadership development training and conferences. They are hungry to learn, but they want it on their terms.  And they want you to really show them all the rules and systems.

As a business owner or manager, it’s your job to turn your organization upside down, listen to what your people want, and then give it to them. Start now and understand that if coaching and mentoring is the new leadership development training (and we think it is!) how do you give your employees more of what they want and less of what they don’t want?  And, under terms they will understand and be able to adopt with the new training?

Allow Them to Seek Out Their Own Mentors

You may have your own coach or training program that resonates with you. Which is great. But don’t expect that what works for you will work for everyone on your team. Yes you should send them to conferences and workshops you believe will benefit them. But if your employee comes to you about an event they’d like to attend, let them. Trust me, your people are smarter than you probably give them credit for. If they’re self-motivated enough to find a mentor they like and want to learn from, the best thing you can do is have their back. Give them what they think they need to crush performance for you. And then get out of the friggin’ way!

Embrace On-the Spot Coaching in the Workplace

Do you keep a mental checklist of all the things you want to talk to your employees about at their next performance review? Here’s a radical idea: instead of saving your feedback for a formal review, embrace on-the-spot coaching. If one of your people does something wrong or something you don’t like, correct them right there and then. Don’t wait for an arbitrary date on the calendar. And if they do something you DO like, make sure you tell them about it! Don’t keep it a secret!

Make Space for Personal Development During the Work Day

Did you know that the average worker only has only 24 minutes per week to learn something new? That’s a new skill, new technology, or new tools for their own development. So as a boss, help them out. Rather than leaving it up to them to get the mentoring and coaching they need outside of work, allow space for it during the workday. If they need to leave a little early to go to their networking group or if they can only do calls with their coach at 1pm on Wednesdays, let them. Don’t just tell them you care about them and have their back, show them!

Develop a Practice of Open and Transparent Communication

You owe it to your people to be honest with them not only about their current job performance, but about their career goals too. If you know that one of your employees eventually wants a management position or that they’d like to move to a new team or department, be transparent with them about what it’s going to take to get there and help them if you can. Yes, even if that means they may eventually leave you. When you demonstrate that you care and you show up for people in the way that they need, they’re going to want to give you their best for as long as they’re with you.

 

Want help providing coaching and mentoring opportunities for your employees? Reach out to us – we can help! And if you’re local in San Diego, send your team to one of our upcoming Strengths & Story workshops.

Are You a Servant Leader?

Is your organization built for servant leadership? This business philosophy can change the way you do business from the top down, allowing you to create a stronger company and a more inclusive work environment. Here’s how you can recognize if your organization will support servant leadership, and how you can establish this innovative system.

What is servant leadership?

Servant leadership is a set of business practices that allows leaders to establish meaningful connection with their staff, improving their morale, productivity, and engagement. To accomplish this, servant leaders set aside their own ambition and adopt a “serve first” mentality.

They ensure that the needs of their staff are met, whether that’s a more comfortable work environment, personal and professional development opportunities, and well-being exercises. Servant leaders share their power and promote the spread of ideas and the inclusion of every voice in the organization.

Is your organization ready?

One of the big things that can get in the way of servant leadership is your company’s culture. Does your organization prioritize a corporate structure or performance-based recognition? In these structures, it can be difficult for leaders to elevate others to a shared leadership position, or encourage development for traditionally overlooked staff members.

Another area that can be examined is how your company identifies and encourages leadership candidates. Do they target aggressively ambitious candidates or those who are more inclined to help others before themselves? This can be a strong indicator of whether or not your organization will be accepting of this philosophy.

How to become a servant leader

If your company is open to servant leadership, you can work to develop some of the best practices of this modern philosophy. Larry C. Spears, former president of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, wrote the 10 most important characteristics of servant leaders, including:

  1. Listening
  2. Empathy
  3. Healing
  4. Awareness
  5. Persuasion
  6. Conceptualization
  7. Foresight
  8. Stewardship
  9. Commitment to the growth of people
  10. Building community

An individual with the drive to become a servant leader can adapt these capabilities if they don’t come naturally. For instance, leaders can make a conscious effort to listen and empathize with others in the workplace. Hold training sessions and establish mentorships to encourage the development of a “serve-first” mentality among upper management.

Servant leadership isn’t right for every organization. Determine if it’s right for yours by examining your corporate culture and existing leadership structures. If it is, work on developing leadership qualities among your managers and adopting the philosophies of servant leadership throughout ever level of your organization.