By Cassandra Hustedt
If you’re like me, you have been bombarded with daily posts boasting the newest and best management tips to engage with your staff remotely. All the while, magically keeping up the same team dynamic as before the world went crazy. I’ve heard everything from increasing the number of daily meetings to mailing notes of encouragement and prizes to your team. Each new article I read, I have to laugh because they all are missing the only thing that is needed to manage remote teams effectively: self-awareness.
This vital trait is the only thing that will keep team dynamics strong during a huge cultural shift. Yet, it is nowhere to be seen. All I see are technology tips, virtual ice breakers, or team morale memes. Not that thinking outside the box is bad, but the idea that one-size-fits-all tips and tricks are the key to successful management is ridiculous. Undoubtably, your team is made of many different kinds of people, ideas and behaviors. If it’s not, well, then that’s a different blog post.
Each person on your team needs specific management tactics based on these unique ideas and behaviors. Maybe increasing daily meetings is great for some, but for others, it may seem more like micro-management and have the opposite desired effect. While close proximity helped mask self-awareness issues, the symptoms have always been very apparent: high turnover, loss of profits, and so on.
So, as things reopen, how do we reboot and stop these issues in their tracks? The solution is simple, but not easy. We have to start looking at employees as people – not just nine-to-five workers.
The first, and perhaps most important, step is gathering this crucial data about our staff. A carefully curated set of personal and professional assessment tools with aggregated data will do just that. For example, it is essential to learn which team members need a steady work environment and who needs a manger that will shake things up. Managers must learn their natural “management style” and how to change based on what individual employees need. Like I said simple, but not easy.
The bright side of the madness of the last few months is that we have already started seeing employees as more than worker bees – we’re seeing them as humans trying their best during difficult times. And, it is my hope that rather than going back to “normal,” we can learn from these times and gain the self-awareness needed to make it stick.
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