Leading Your (Now) Remote Team Through the Storm

Sharing tips from a conversation with a friend yesterday about managing your (now remote) team during this S&!itStorm:

Here’s what I am hearing and seeing from staff who’ve been displaced and now are “lucky” enough to work from home.

Your people are probably:

– Afraid and uncertain about the future of their jobs.

– Distracted and unfocused – they are not used to working from home and without the structure of an office.

– Lonely and isolated (especially those extroverts – and even introverts too).

– Feeling unsafe about life in general with everything turned upside down.

With all of this FUDD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, and Despair), and in absence of facts staff will make up stories for themselves – which are generally worst-case scenarios – or even worse than worst case.

The best thing leaders can do is to lean in, stay connected and meet people where they are – and share what they know.

And #leaders must be mindful of how this situation may be affecting them:

Of course, as employees are feeling and reacting this way, managers will react too:

– They may be feeling the same way as their staff about the future.

And they may feel

– Frustrated with staff (they don’t know why they are so worried)

– Disappointed in the lack of focus or productivity

– Nervous that the key work is not getting done.

And that can make managers behave in ways that falsely confirm staff fears or make the fears worse.

The top #leadership job right now is to provide a little bit of safety and a sense of certainty to your team – even if you don’t feel all that certain yourself.

Making the human connection, and having those authentic moments with your staff where they see you are human – and that you are there for them – goes a long way to fighting the FUDD.

You can do this in daily video calls, and in your regular 1:1 meetings (which you should be doing once a week right now). Seriously.

This storm will pass. The work you do now will prepare you to get back up to speed when it does.