Many teams have had to adjust to new ways of working that have reduced face to face time and replaced it with FaceTime (or Zoom time). So how do you lead when physically distant?
Based on conversations that I have had with many of my leadership coachees, I have devised the following eight step ADD VALUE process to support you:
Accept - The world looks very different now. What was is no longer. Your team are looking to you for guidance. Heaviness often results from feeling like you can’t or that what worked before is no longer effective. Showing your team that you are capable of moving on will encourage them to do the same. Create lightness by releasing what no longer fits and modelling acceptance.
Discuss - Discuss with your team what options exist for change. Looking at what is now possible shifts mindsets from negativity and reactivity to positivity and proactivity. Use this conversation to refocus and realign for the future.
Decide - Along with your team, decide what next steps make most sense. Feeling included supports your team to move forwards and builds their engagement.
Vision - Use the new awareness gained from prior steps to refresh your team’s vision. Communicate this to stakeholders so that they recognise your adaptation to a new environment.
Act - By moving into action, this helps your team feel like they are contributing and productive. Effective communication reinforces positive action. Given the distance now present, many advocate to over-communicate. This simply adds to the noise and sense of overwhelm. Instead, deliver quality over quantity. Communicate clearly, concisely and consistently, not more.
Listen - Listen to what is working and what is not. Know that team members are human beings who are being impacted by the pandemic in different ways at different times. How we show up at work can often mirror what is happening elsewhere for each individual. Make space to consider them as a whole person, not just through the lens of the employer. Sharing your own experience can give permission for others to do the same.
Understand - In a time of considerable uncertainty and anxiety, this year has likely felt difficult and draining. Productivity may not be at typical levels. Pushing harder is unlikely to have a positive outcome. Be understanding to get the best from your team.
Excite - Be upbeat with the team whilst avoiding toxic positivity. Put simply, appearing too upbeat can be seen as dismissive of any challenges that the team may be facing. It is likely to alienate those who are struggling. Showing a more balanced approach that recognises both the good and the bad is more likely to bring your team with you.
My company’s vision is to inspire leaders and virtual teams to ADD VALUE in every conversation. I hope this process helps you to do the same.