The year 2020 has brought many curveballs. The most hard-hitting of them all, the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to ravage many countries, leaving many people sick or unemployed and many businesses incapacitated.
If your business is one of the lucky ones that continue to survive during these harrowing times, you should quickly take measures to keep your business running mostly—one of which is effectively managing and supporting your team, which is likely to be working remotely.
Starting an online business is more convenient and more affordable these days, with reliable online platforms and marketplaces, but keeping it running with the pandemic going on has become a huge challenge for many.
Employees are the backbone of a company, and most, if not all, workers have been hit hard by this public health crisis. Hence, there’s an urgent need for leaders to step up and support their teams during these trying times. If you’re in a leadership position, here are a few tips on how to effectively manage and support your remote team during this pandemic.
Strengthening Team Communication
Communication is one of the most important factors to consider when managing a remote team. Are you communicating with your team frequently enough? Do you have effective communication channels? Are you on the same page with your team all the time? Does your team know what is happening in the company?
Right now, everyone in your team is probably anxious and constantly worrying about their and their family’s health and how the pandemic has affected and will affect their lives. As a leader, it’s your duty to not add to those worries, and you can do that by being transparent and honest to your team. This doesn’t mean you should share confidential information; it simply means keeping your team updated. You can do that by strengthening your team’s communication through the following:
- Scheduling regular videoconference meetings (at least once a week)
- Gathering suggestions and feedback (and implementing the helpful ones)
- Acknowledging your team’s feelings and fears and boosting their confidence as best as you can
- Organizing fun virtual team activities (and participating in them too)
- Being clear and detailed in your communications (including the context to not cause anxiety or uncertainties)
- Having individual check-ins to ensure that every member of the team is heard
Consistent and effective communication bolsters your team’s morale and motivation, reduces feelings of isolation, and encourages engagement and participation, which ultimately help keep the business running smoothly.
Empowering and Supporting Employees
Your employees need exceptional leadership now more than ever. They need their leaders to empower and support them so that they can continue to remain engaged at work and not get overwhelmed by what’s happening outside. So what can you do to empower and support your team?
- Set clear expectations. Be clear about what you need from your team and from every member. Set a deadline for tasks, but make sure they are reasonable. And always state deadlines in clear terms (with the date and the time). Document what you talk about in meetings, especially instructions and updates, and email the memo to everyone.
- Talk to team members individually. Working remotely may cause employees to feel isolated and unheard. Some members may be afraid of taking up others’ time if they talk about their individual concerns during team meetings. Hence, make it a point to check in on team members individually. See what their personal expectations and concerns are about working from home. Assuage their fears, address the issues they bring forward, and offer effective solutions.
- Be kind and compassionate. Everyone is going through a tough time. The least you can do is to be kind to your people. You can do that by taking time to learn about your people, appreciating what they do, encouraging collaboration and interaction, recognizing your influence on your team’s lives (and not abusing that influence), and practicing what you preach.
Kindness and compassion go hand in hand with empathy. To be a kind and compassionate leader, you work to understand and relate to the emotions and experiences of your others. By practicing empathy, you can become a more effective leader and provide genuine support and empowerment to your people.
Do you have experience with managing a remote team? Share your tips and stories in the comments section below. We’re excited to read your thoughts and ideas.