Nearly all companies had gone remote last year. If yours was one of those, you struggled in managing your team remotely too. Without the physical presence of your employees, you had to adopt a new leadership style.
Virtual meeting platforms and instant messaging made work-from-home look easy. But in reality, it’s probably the hardest way to work. When your organization is separated, you can’t expect them to focus on their jobs 100%. Even you had struggled with that. Hence, you couldn’t blame your employees if they don’t deliver as well as they used to. You’re all in the same boat, work-wise.
Even though you can communicate your struggles, it’s just not the same if you’re not physically together. But remote work may carry on even after the pandemic ends. Its benefits are too hard to let go of. Hence, you should acquire these new leadership skills to keep your business on top as the age of remote work progresses:
1. Emotional Intelligence
Not too long ago, personal feelings had no place at work. It was considered unprofessional to show emotions to your boss or any higher-ranking colleague. But as leadership norms changed, business leaders realized that emotional intelligence is just as important as logical thinking. Without emotional intelligence, we’d be apathetic leaders, expecting our employees to function like robots instead of human beings.
Empathetic leaders have been in demand in the workplace long before the pandemic. But during COVID-19’s onset, empathetic leaders were truly challenged. They had to face the reality of their employees dealing with the hardships of daily life, which could affect their work performance.
But instead of forcing their employees to separate work from personal life, HR leaders were more considerate. They allowed their employees to attend to some personal matters even during working hours. After all, you really can’t separate your work persona and home persona in your own house. With your family around, you can’t help but be the best of both worlds.
Besides, many business leaders are parents themselves. As such, they understand the unavoidable need to juggle between parenthood and work. It is this understanding that makes business leaders reliable during the pandemic.
2. Engaging Employees Virtually
Employee engagement is one of the areas HR managers struggled with during the pandemic. Zoom meetings just don’t put people together with the way in-person meetings do. When you have to switch between muting and turning on your mic, your attention jumps everywhere, and you tend to make tech-related mistakes.
Business leaders were encouraged to undergo stellar virtual collaboration training. It’s a virtual program that trains leaders on new ways to manage teams. It can provide customized solutions for your company’s specific issues. Leaders who completed the program learned the ins and outs of remote working and how to communicate online.
3. Clear and Concise Remote Communication
Speaking of communicating online, the age of remote work posed challenges regarding that. In school, we were only taught how to communicate well in person. We learned how to decipher body language, use certain voice tones, and which words to use to convey a message. But now, all of those are useless, as we could only talk to each other electronically.
We used to think chatting was way easier than talking in person. After all, chatting gives us enough time to compose our words. But as it turns out, chatting, as well as video calling and emailing, have barriers, too. They couldn’t let the person hear the tone of our voices. They’re not accompanied by body language.
What’s more, the instant messaging culture made certain words or punctuation marks indicate feelings. For example, ending a sentence with a dot — without an emoticon — is often interpreted as a cold tone. But in real life, it’s just the usual way to write sentences.
To make remote communications easier, leaders have to end the normalization of messages being misinterpreted due to the lack of emotions they seem to carry. On the other hand, employees should be more professional in their word choices and instant messaging style.
4. Listening and Empathizing
It’s not enough to have emotional intelligence. Leaders have to become better listeners, too. In turn, they’d learn how to empathize genuinely. Believe it or not, having emotional intelligence doesn’t automatically make you an empathetic individual or a good listener. It simply makes you sense emotions or read situations better.
When leaders are empathetic and good listeners, their employees can turn to them for support during hard times. If companies value their employees, they should aspire to be this type of leader.
Unsurprisingly, the new in-demand leadership skills don’t involve much extra knowledge or technical skills but are focused on soft skills. Indeed, in this pandemic-changed world, we could do well with being kinder leaders.