Current events around the world have caused a lot of stress, anxiety and uncertainty in everyone’s minds. Businesses around us are shutting their doors, learning to manage their teams remotely or laying off employees altogether, or filing for bankruptcies. Meanwhile, governments scramble to put together Coronavirus (COVID-19) relief packages to minimize the economic impact. One thing is for certain, nobody knows what the result will be, but we can all maintain hope. The world has experienced a lot of turmoil over the years, but with the help of certain steadfast leaders, we’ve come out victorious. The leaders I am referring to aren’t political or corporate, but normal human beings like you and me.
I am amazed to see how the business community around the world has come together in these testing times to provide a ray of hope for those who have been affected. With active work-from-home (WFH) policies in many jurisdictions, influencers have been putting out a lot of ideas to make sure businesses can run as effectively as possible.
The Shift to Remote Management and Remote Work
I have been leading teams for over 15 years and have no shame in admitting that managing an in-house team is much easier on paper than managing remote teams. In fact, it’s a lot easier in general because you aren’t behind a webcam trying to gauge/read body language and instill confidence at the same time, but in this unprecedented time, we must adapt and innovate.
Teams across the world have been affected to a varying degree – some are seeing a huge uptick in their revenue as they happen to be in healthcare, services etc., while some teams find themselves re-forecasting the year to ensure they stay afloat. Regardless of which side of the spectrum on which you fall, leading a remote team brings a whole new meaning given the current state.
Key Elements of Managing Your Team
There are some key elements of management that should not be ignored regardless of the state in which the world finds itself, and in fact, these should be more paramount than ever:
Employees yearn for transparency from their leaders and organization. With the changes that organizations have undergone or are in the midst of, leaders need to ensure that their employees are informed, to the extent that they can be. If changes are being made, let them know the reason for the change, do not beat around the bush.
Change does not just affect the employees who are impacted, but also the others who are left to pick up the pieces. Leaders should have one-on-one conversations with their team members to reassure them of their places in the company and alleviate any fears they may have.
Leaders have a responsibility to ensure they celebrate even the smallest wins in this climate. They should be sharing every little victory with the entire company to foster a culture of cheering. With everything going on in the world, we should find joy in the little things and celebrate as much (and as often) as possible.
Doing a regular check-in with your employees is the single most effective way of providing transparency and reassurance. Lack of regular check-ins can be unsettling for employees as they could consider it as a sign of impending trouble. At the very least, your teams will likely end up using their imaginations to fill in those gaps in communication.
It goes without saying that you should be present for your team and employees whenever needed. Encourage them to share their frustrations to help with the transition into the new normal. The weight of the current situation can really take its toll on mental health, so be available in your team’s hour of need.
Humans can feed off each other’s energy, especially from those who inspire or motivate. Drive that motivation forward through gamification; try using colorful charts to demonstrate both individual and team growth/accomplishment through these tough times, create friendly team challenges to encourage healthy habits, share online content that you found inspirational. Anything you can do to keep your team motivated will prove to be beneficial in the long run.
Although these are uncertain times, we should not forget some of the fundamentals of managing teams; the only difference now is that you need to do everything you were already doing but in overdrive. Stay authentic and as transparent as possible, and I assure you we will all get through this!
This blog was written by Aman Singh, Head of Sales at DynaScape. With more than 15 years of experience, Aman has been responsible for mentoring, coaching, and managing sales teams with a proven history of increasing the teams’ performance and contributing to the overall success of each organization.