Everyone is hoping that life goes back to the way it was now that it is 2021, and that 2020 can be forever wiped from our memories, leaders who have turned and pivoted all of last year might have learned a few things to apply for 2021.
Let’s take a look at what the “Next Normal” will be:
Virtual Leaders will need to be more hands on and connected with their workforce. There is no hiding in your office and hoping everyone is doing the job. Virtual Leaders need to set expectations. You are likely thinking; “I already do that, how is that a trend” the expectations are those around how work and meetings will be done. For example, zoom meetings, will it be expected that everyone has their cameras on or is just audio okay?
When meeting on zoom there should still be a clear agenda and purpose of the meeting. When everyone is so isolated, it would not be difficult for meetings to fall into a catch up and gossip situation quickly. As the leader of the meeting or organization it is important for you to set a clear path of how business will proceed.
Virtual Leaders will have to become better listeners as well. You used to be able to read the room to get a feeling of how your message was being received. That is not so easy when looking at a screen. You must now take into consideration that there are distractions around people, and you might not even have their full attention.
Wait, what! Yes, we know you have worked hard to keep everyone engaged and feeling heard and now they are going to leave? As the vaccine finds its way through the community and lives ease back to quasi normality everything that was put on hold for 2020 is now springing forward. That includes job changes and physical moves to other states or cities. Do not take it personal, everyone is just eager to get back to what they were planning to do all along.
This may have come as a bit of a surprise to some leaders, that people can work from home and be even more productive. There is even a financial benefit of remote work, in that less of a physical footprint is needed.
Before quarantine, business leaders had chafed at the millennial demands of being able to work remotely and having flexible schedules. Now that we have all been forced into these situations, it is clear that remote working has its benefits and its drawbacks. With 44% of employees saying* that part of their teams are full time remote workers, the change to the office dynamics is a challenge. But let’s face it, remote working is definitely not going away.
Leaders learned a valuable lesson on staying flexible. Life was up in the air for most of us and having the forethought and ability to pivot your workforce at a moment’s notice, is not likely to go away. A leader that has learned to be agile and flexible is a leader that will be able to predict what lies ahead and steer their company in the right direction.
Because everyone is stuck at home with little to no relaxation options available, people are putting in more time on work and less on self-care. Be the leader that vocalizes and demonstrates self-care. Let your teams know that it is okay to take some time to recharge. It will show your team that you care not only about the job getting done, but their well being too.
As the leader of your organization it is important to listen to your team, not only to what they are saying but how they are feeling and responding to the demands of their work or project loads. If you want to learn more about burn out check out the blog: Employee Burnout: How to Prioritize Your People in 2021.
At Higgs Leadership Development we give you the tools you need to grow in your role as leader of your organization. We conduct staff workshops and trainings that assist leaders to learn more about their teams and themselves. Call on Higgs for more tips on growing in your leadership role.