I recently spoke at an event where a few of the audience members admitted that they hadn’t been engaging as much with their team because of now being virtual. They said that regularly scheduled one-on-ones and town halls had been canceled because of the inability to meet in person. Learning to accept these changes as leaders and embrace that the virtual world shouldn’t be used as an excuse to disconnect from team members, will allow for the opportunity to restrategize these check-ins.
If anything, being virtual should increase the need to want to stay connected because you aren’t able to have that human office interaction.
Staying realistic and positive about virtually empowering your team will lead you to bigger successes in the long run. A part of that success is all about how you intentionally delegate as a caring leader. Setting clear, quantifiable expectations builds the framework to eliminate the need to micromanage. So when you check in with your people, it’s productive and they know exactly what they’re there to do. This allows for the connection to be reestablished, which can be done just as often as it was in person, if not more so. Being a readily accessible resource for your team should they need to lean on you, is a huge piece of the caring leadership puzzle and relies on you being proactive about it.
Encouraging your team and trusting them to handle these delegations will also make them feel like an important part of the puzzle, too. That’s where empowerment comes in. Recognize those who are really stepping up to accommodate these changes and who have been continually improving, bringing ideas to the table, etc. Sometimes it doesn’t always feel like a productive environment when we work from “afar” and recognition can really fuel that productivity.
Even if your team has weekly or monthly cadences, also checking in individually once a week helps to understand everyone’s needs. Maybe some individuals have no issues working remotely and plugging away, while others may be struggling and can’t just “pop in your office” as they once could. You proactively staying connected can squash these concerns before they turn into bigger issues down the road that may have otherwise gone unseen.
So reach out, empower your people, and cut them some slack. We’re all just humans trying to make this new reality the best it can be. A little compassion can go a long way.