Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Have you been trained to lead and manage your teams from home? I'm guessing the answer is probably, no.
Have your people been trained to be their best selves when working from home? Again, I'm guessing, no.
What can you do you help your people to become the best version of themselves and shine when working from home?
This blog explores three critical tips that you need to know if you want to help your teams to shine, because how can you shine if you don't support them first? The three tips are:
Remember you are dealing with adults and ask, what does an excellent home working experience mean to you?
Trust is the foundation to a cohesive team
Learn to spot and understand avoidance strategies
How to lead and manage from home 1: Don't treat your teams like children
It sounds like common sense, but you need to remember that you are working with adults because if you don't understand the principles that govern actions, you cannot help your teams.
"What does an excellent home working experience mean to [insert team member's name]?"
You cannot answer the above question effectively without engaging and involving the individuals in your team. Start by actively listening to each team member and demonstrate applied emotional intelligence by clearly summarising and articulating the view of the world according to the individual members of your team: what are they seeing, hearing, saying, feeling and doing?
Taking this approach (active listening and applied empathy) will help you develop rapport and influence. However, it is the nature of the adult as a self-determined operator that will determine whether you and your team shine.
There are six points to remember if you want your team members to put forward the best version of themselves because you need to understand how your actions could stop them from shining.
Be open: your team needs to know why they need to do something before doing it.
Don't engage, involve: your team will be more efficient and effective if they have been involved in determining the actions they are being asked to take.
Uncover experiences: your team will be liberated or constrained by past experiences, bring these experiences to the fore; help dampen poor experiences through applied empathy (articulate the negatives and associated feelings in the world according to...[team member], and amplify the positives in your approach), and amplify good experiences by highlighting the similarities between the past and your approach.
Get real: talk straight and confront reality because your team will be more likely to put forward the best version of themselves when they live the need you are experiencing.
Show you can help: your team will undoubtedly suffer from concerns around their ability to work in a new environment, so acknowledge them and put together individual plans to lift competency and support levels.
Motivate: identify and focus on intrinsic motivators - TASK (talent, attitudes, skills and knowledge), blended with beliefs & values, and freedom of choice - and create personalised stretch goals that account for individual levels of difficulty and ability (too little ability creates anxiety & too little difficult leads to boredom).
How to lead and manage from home 2: trust, trust and trust some more.
To help your team find the best version of themselves, you have to trust them because they are self-determining actors within the movie that is the world according to you. If you want the best for them, you will need trust [recommended reading: Stephen Covey's The Speed of Trust].
Trust starts with you. Your trustworthiness will determine the success of your team because if your values, beliefs, standards and behaviours are not congruent with the needs of your team, you will struggle to get them to shine. Furthermore, if your values, beliefs, standards and behaviours are not consistent, you will probably not get your team to put forward the best version of themselves.
What results do people see and how do they think I achieved them?
What behaviours do people see, and what do they think my motives and agenda are?
What do others see as being my strengths and opportunities for development related to talent, attitude, skills and knowledge?
Where are the gaps between the beliefs, values, standards and behaviours I practice at home and those I practice at work, and what creates these gaps?
How to lead and manage from home 2: spotting avoidance strategies and what they mean
I just don't have time...
How many times have you heard those words from a person in your team, and have you ever stopped to wonder what they might mean?
Imagine you are in a state of peak load at work, and you need to decide whether to make time to attend the funeral of a close work colleague, one that you know in work, but not out of work. An extreme example, but it would seem fair to expect that, based on your beliefs, values, standards and behaviours, you would be motivated to attend the funeral regardless of load. Time is not an issue because your choice to attend the funeral aligns with your purpose (beliefs, values, standards and behaviours). Back to the state of peak load at work, imagine that your line manager asks you to carry out a task that seems pointless to you, in other words, it does not align with your purpose, what would you do? Imagine if your line manager asks you to take on a task that you believe to be outside of your skillset, what would you do? When people say they don't have time, they are making a choice. Two critical considerations determine whether people will engage or not:
The alignment of the request with their purpose (beliefs, values, standards and behaviours)
Their level of self-efficacy - their brief in their abilities (talent, attitude, skills and knowledge) to successfully carry out the task
So, the next time you hear an avoidance strategy, take the opportunity to consider these two points and realign the request to bridge the gap because if you don't your teams will begin to question their trust in you.