This blog post is about how to lead people remotely.
While many organisations have been working remotely for years, it has been a new thing for many people in 2020.
As John Eades said referring to the COVID19 crisis during the lockdown, “Leadership is already hard, and it just got harder.”
Here are three challenges that business owners, leaders and managers face right now:
Understanding these challenges helps us to lead people remotely.
Working remotely for another business on the side myself, I know that these challenges are real, and they require us to change our thinking, behaviour and attitudes.
Yet, if we put it in the ‘too hard’-basket we miss out on some great opportunities for all involved, and we make it harder than it has to be.
I have learned some amazing things since working remotely. In fact, the computer I’m writing this on right now here in Sydney is remotely connected to a server in Queensland. I log in through a ‘remote desktop connection’ which gives me access to the shared drive and software of the business I work for casually.
We regularly use Teamviewer for the training of new staff members. I had used this many times when I was first trained by an organisation in the US or whenever I needed IT support.
There are other apps, of course, like AnyDesk – just find out what works for you online or I’m sure your IT support will have plenty of options to help you overcome these technical challenges.
Leaders are learners. Let’s take this crisis and learn what opportunities we have in the 21st century.
I can also see some amazing opportunities to improve the efficiency of what we do.
Where we would have met up with a client, or have our teams travel to a meeting, we can now use Zoom/GotoMeeting/Skype/Whatsapp/Messenger/MarcoPolo and many more platforms to meet them ‘face to face’ yet online.
We can save time and other expenses.
Of course, it is not the same as meeting in person. Yet, we can now streamline which meetings will stay online after this crisis and which will go back to offline/in person.
Also, we are now more flexible with our meetings. We don’t have to jampack for 3 hours because everyone is onsite. We should aim for shorter, more effective meetings as it is easier to lose people online.
Apart from meetings, our strategies need to be sustainable during this time. We need to be up to date with legislation and what impact that has on our business.
I have heard several leaders talk about being proactive and early adopters.
As an example, the cafes and restaurants that have seen the forced closure of their businesses coming before this week, clearly have an advantage. They have started to come up with new strategies weeks ago. They have signed up to menulog, uber eats, etc. in order to keep some business going.
If we have to shut down our business and are somehow able to open again once this crisis is over, how does our Marketing strategy look like? We still need to be present in order to not start from zero when we open again.
People that run workshops or training have moved online, which works well too.
And even if your business is still going well because you sell toilet paper or whatever…will this be the same in a few months time?
As leaders, we need to stay ahead of the game. Let’s prepare for a few different scenarios and make sure to communicate that with our people.
Our people are scared of losing their jobs, stressed out because they still have a lot of work, and probably challenged to balance family and work situations.
We cannot just walk over to them to assign a task or check in if they are doing what they are meant to be doing.
We need to focus on three things to work through these interpersonal challenges:
There is more to each of these points. Please find those blog posts when you click on the highlighted words.
I hope this blog post has helped you to get a better understanding of how to lead people remotely.
If you want some support to stay strong as a leader through this season, please reach out. I’m here to help wherever I can!
Keep leading. You can do this!