It may be surprising, but in actuality, fewer managers and leaders take that time to invest in their closest peers, team members, or other colleagues. Once you do take that time, you begin to insert a culture of trust, and in a culture where people feel secure, they can let go of some of their fears and release it to ideation and creativity. What you also begin to see is that your load-balancing at work is improved. What it takes is understanding that you need to invest time from other meetings, to make your primary degrees to work. Time is not as important as frequency of calls, video conferences or chats. The further people are from the ‘hub’, top leadership, the less they understand how they contribute to the strategy unless you have built the chain of degrees.
Trust, Trust, Trust
Trust is built when someone is vulnerable and not taken advantage of.
Many companies have allowed people to work from home and realized it works. Yet, as soon as the government shows any signs of releasing barriers of movement, the very same companies may be demanding people back at the station. The question was and had in many cultures been about trust. Do we trust that employees to work productively at home? We might as well ask, do we believe employees to productively work, point-blank.
In the IT and Services industry, I have spent two decades working remotely up to 80% of the time. When I was flying for meetings, it consumed a minimum of eight hours that usually had to be added to the weekly workload. The world is and has already been digital for a good while. I trusted my team members to work; after all, that is why we use performance management. It is not a haphazard fill-in-the-blanks form at the end of the term – it should be a valuable exchange with your closest employees frequently.
While many people have been living in exceptional circumstances working remotely, digital workspace is a norm to others. Do you know who they are in your organization? Have you identified the stars of digital ideation, remote working, and innovators? Is anyone of these employees in your first, or at least, second-degree trusted connection list? Do you spread their knowledge and include them in the future strategy for new working methodologies?
The list of immediate actions no matter how simple it may sound is:
- increase the level of emotional intelligence in you and your teams
- lead with caring and common-understanding
- define your degrees or circles of trust to as many degrees as you need to in your role
- be open to new ideas and include people who are known to spearhead digital workspace and collaboration programs
- start with an open dialogue and begin defining goals people can associate with
- leave room to be flexible and look for people with skills of ideation
- lead with trust and demonstrate that in your actions and words
- establish a time to have regular conversations with employees, peers, sponsors whom you can coach, and find people who can coach you – work other meetings around these sessions
- follow the progress of your chosen circles and remain flexible in your mission
- respect people who need to or want to change their approach whether due to personal or business reasons
Remember, every restriction you put in place that increases fear or doubt in people is several steps backward in the innovational and transformational thinking you need in a crisis. Our world is connected. Today’s world situation will not be unique – a global ecosystem will bring other emergencies to manage. Even the most difficult situations can be handled if everyone takes steps to care equally for themselves and others.
Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.
~Stephen R. Covey
- MindTools: How Emotionally Intelligent Are You? ǀ https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/ei-quiz.htm
- Positive Psychology.com: 62 Stress Management Techniques, Strategies & Activities ǀ https://positivepsychology.com/stress-management-techniques-tips-burn-out/
- Psych2Go: Six Degrees of Separation: It’s a Small World ǀ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a99ry70CnRs