Does the world need one more blog post about managing teams remotely? Yes, exactly one more—this one.
Here’s a shortlist of virtual leadership practices to considering integrating into your morphing-by-the-hour leadership role to help your teams stay engaged:
1. Schedule and lead short, daily video calls with your entire team.
Connection is key to culture, productivity, and most importantly, resilience and calm. Even the most disciplined of us can “go off the ranch” after reading an inflammatory tweet, provocative social post, or hyperbolic articles (which are reproducing like rabbits) and allow them to warp our sense of reason. These calls can be short, fast, and fun. Don’t forget to balance gravity with levity.
2. Create a text or email chain with your team members.
Start each day with a short check-in—not a check-on. “Hey team, good morning. Let me know if anyone has any issues developing you’d like to share with me one-on-one. Let’s all take 12:00- 1:00 today and totally check-out with some lunch and exercise. Hope your day is productive and calm. Everyone, please respond with a short update that you’re okay.”
3. Invest time to call each colleague daily with no agenda, other than to listen and help.
Ask what you can do for them. How you can clear the path? What’s in their way? You might uncover some obstacles and issues that might be constricting productivity or driving fear.
4. Be vulnerable.
There’s a fine balance of projecting strength in tough times and also being real and relatable. Everyone wants to work with a leader who is confident and also humble. Balance those traits in every interaction.
5. Demonstrate empathy.
Be mindful of how much you’re listening versus talking. If you were to talk less, could you learn more about what’s really going on in people’s lives and offer some wisdom, or even better, a nonjudgmental ear with zero solution? Be deliberate in laughing more. Lighten the mood. Remember, leaders are the linchpin of culture—in the office and now, virtually. You still lead the mood and have a chance to create unforgettable conditions for high engagement.
6. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Paranoia and fear are self-fulfilling; so are joy and gratitude. Try your best to focus on what you can control and release your anxiety from what you can’t. I live in Salt Lake City; I can’t control or even impact what’s happening in Italy or Seattle. I can control the health of my family and positively impact the spirits of my team. Think globally—act locally.
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Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.