Managing remotely has it challenges, and communication is among the top.
As I listen to managers of remote teams from across the country, the one consistent challenge is finding the right way to engage everyone. We aren’t passing each other in the workplace, gathering around boardroom tables, lunch room tables or the water cooler during these days because we’re physical distancing and many are #workingfromhome. So how do we stay connected to the goals of the organization, as a remote team?
What most managers and employees don’t realize is that although our physical environment has changed, our greatest needs have not. Similar to the massive part of an iceberg underwater, these greatest human needs satisfy a large part of who we are as humans. The need to…feel understood, recognized, and valued; when satisfied can create a sense of security and connection, both of which are lacking right now.
Face-to-face or ear-to-ear are the best methods. Call your team members and ask them open ended questions about how they’re managing through these times. Some are likely very lonely, where others are in crowded family spaces. Some may appreciate a private talk about their specific situation, while others may find relief and trust knowing how others are managing through the same issues. “Don’t make assumptions”, writes Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements.
We don’t understand how our team members are doing until we reach out to them. Engage them with compassion and empathy.
- “Can you tell me more about how you’re doing with all this change in your routine?”
- “How has it been for you … really?”
- “Tell me about something you’re enjoying about working remotely? Tell me about something that you find challenging?”
Of course I wouldn’t coach you to ask questions if it weren’t for the next step.
Listen with an open mind, a clear slate, a ‘white canvas’ as I usually say. Allow them to talk, to elaborate, with only one intention. To seek to understand them. Tell them what you’ve heard. You don’t have to solve their problems, just hear them for now. Just listen.
Once leaders connect with people by meeting these basic needs, the results will align. People will engage on a level that’s under the surface of day to day business transactions, and that is a foundation you can build a castle on, but not yet. Let the human connection take root, be open and available to listen to people through this time. You’ll learn things and gain valuable ideas that would never had the space to land in all the tongue wagging that you may have normally done.
Clients are booking online facilitated team sessions with me. There is no limit of participants, and we have been doing some great strategy planning using everyone’s input. Call me to set up your hybrid solution to connect your team today.
Stay apart but stay connected, and if you can’t find your way, call Penny Tremblay because the high cost of disconnected teams is avoidable, and profits can be used for better things.