By: Khushboo Jain
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, all companies are slowly getting accustomed to their employees working from home. With the number of forced and unforeseen changes that have been happening, the entire corporate workspace has had to immediately adapt to a changed work methodology.
With everyone now operating remotely, team leaders have to learn a new form of leadership, one that requires them to lead a team that’s not physically near them. While this is a challenge, this can be seen as an opportunity to develop a skillset. This will only be used extensively in the future, as more employers and employees will get to realize how working remotely can be used to their advantage.
Several tips for team leaders to get productivity from their team:
- Set priorities
One of the skills that leaders in any organization should develop is to decide which tasks are essential and which ones are not. When the members of your team are not near you, this skill will become even more important as you will now have to completely reorganize your daily work schedule. Your time is your most valuable resource, and deciding which departments and team members will need more of it will help save time, smoothen the workflow and also help manage the use of other resources.
- Identify processes that work with the team
Once you’ve prioritized your tasks, you now need to find a way to get your team to execute it. The workflow that you used in an office environment may not be effective right now, as people will be dealing with a lot more distractions, as well as a lot of physical and psychological stress. Organizations and leaders will have to find a work process that is effective and efficient.
- Maintain communication
Maintaining communication with your members is going to require you to be dynamic, where you may face the most number of changes. You will no longer have the advantage of face-to-face communication. Your means of communication will now be online. Know which mediums of communication can get you the best results. Each member of your team will respond in a different manner to the different channels of communication. One may prefer answering to emails, another may respond to instant message services, while someone may need coaching through video calls. It will be up to you to decide which services to use, and how effectively you can pass on important information to your team members, and help them communicate with each other.
- Look for progress, not perfection
While having high expectations from your team may be a useful strategy under normal circumstances, in the current scenario it will only build stress. For now, focus more on getting work done than having a very high standard. Have a realistic standard that your team can achieve. If your team has any additional time at their disposal after the task is done, then you may revisit it and make improvements. During this testing time, follow the Facebook motto – ‘Done is better than perfect.’
- Keep a positive attitude
With the tension mounting due to COVID-19 crisis, it is now that you will have to maintain a positive attitude. If you are able to lead with a positive attitude, then your team will also respond positively to their tasks. Having a quick chat with them that’s not work-related once in a while will help them get into the right headspace. During this phase, it is also important that you take good care of yourself because maintaining a positive attitude while you are not in the best shape is difficult and stressful.
- Respect boundaries
Your team will be working from home, where they will have to deal with their families, friends, pets and household chores along with work. While ideally, you would expect them to be as responsive as they were in a normal office situation, but at home, they may have limitations as to how much contact they would like. You yourself may have work limitations that you may not like to enforce. Remember that not everyone is alike and that you should treat them as they would want to be, not what you would think is appropriate.
- Address issues, give and take feedback
As most organizations are still in the beginning phase of their adjustment to these changes, it is important to be patient and observe how things work. Find issues and hassles in your team’s workflow and address them. If you have built trust with your team, then you should be able to give them constructive feedback as to what they can improve upon. At the same time, you should be receptive to feedback from the other members, and be able to use it as a way to improve the work process.
While the COVID-19 outbreak is not to be taken lightly, this could be a great opportunity to show how adaptable you are as an organization or as a team leader. Being able to execute as a leader during a time of crisis is a true sign that you are ready to be able to shoulder bigger responsibilities. The skills that you develop during this period may be the ones that help you navigate the next few years after the pandemic scare has passed.
(The author is co-founder of crowd funding platform ImpactGuru.com and the views expressed in this article are her own)