Becoming a Great Virtual Leader Part II

As the pandemic continues, I’ve watched different friends and clients deal with this unique and hopefully once in a lifetime change in varying ways. Some see opportunities galore and go into all-business mode making plans how to pivot while others are immobilized. Then there are the rest of us who have good days and bad.

Having some basic boundaries and skills to cope is important. I hope you will find some of these tips beneficial to both your mental well-being and your productivity.

We all need resilience – (I’m getting a little tired of that word myself) – but what is that exactly? – the ability to cope in stressful times or adversity and bounce back…

Where to start? I found it very helpful to focus on “What I can control” versus “What I cannot control” (at least for the foreseeable future).

 

When I did this I found out that I can control:

  • What and how much I eat
  • How much I sleep and exercise and how much news I consume
  • Who I talk to and listen to – how much support I ask for and allow myself to accept
  • Doing things that make me feel better or lower my anxiety
  • My attitude and how I show up as a leader and influencer

What I can’t control:

  • When the stay at home order will be over
  • When I’ll be able to travel to see my Mother in Ireland
  • How other people behave
  • How much of my business will remain versus disappear indefinitely

What did you come up with? I hope you find it relieves the tension a bit.

When it comes to leading your team, you are in control of how to relate to them and how you show up. Whether they are in the same building or on the other side of a Zoom call, chances are it’s time to go back to some basics and decide to either implement something new or reinstate what might have gone by the way side.

Some of us slide into bad habits or never actually started using best practices in the first place. For instance, I’ve had conversations with new clients who have never had one to one meetings with their direct reports. I often hear comments like “but we talk every day about all sorts of things” – operations, a problem client or employee, sales goals, finances and so on. But how often do you ‘sit down’  with each person on your team and have a conversation that includes how they are doing emotionally, how they are handling changes, do they feel they have a career path or maybe right now a job? Have you discussed their development plan with them recently or ever? It’s important to do this whether you are working in the next office or they work in Argentina or Chicago or Orange County. With all our technical aids, there is no excuse for failing to have a face to face and for most people, working remotely may give us a bit more time to do this.

A few things to remember in connecting or reconnecting with your team members:

  • Do they (and you) know exactly what you expect of them?
  • Do they have the resources, training and equipment to do the job wherever they are working?
  • Do you give frequent and direct feedback on their performance and productivity etc.?
  • Do you have real and honest conversations about how the current situation is affecting them and their jobs?
  • Do you coach, mentor and help develop them for this and other roles?

As always, knowing your own strengths and those of your team members will help you understand better how each person will react to the current situation and how much support they may need. When circumstances return to normal – whatever and whenever that is – they will remember how you showed up.  Are you ready?

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