How can you help support your team through challenge?
If you already lead a remote or global team, the chances are that you’ve probably got everything in place that you need in normal circumstances, and those processes work well for you. However, in times of challenge, things change, and you may need to support your team emotionally more than ever. This may require a different approach.
I’ve been helping clients with this over the last few weeks and here are some practical ideas and thoughts for you if you already lead a remote or global team and need some ideas for adapting your leadership to be more people-focused and emotionally supportive.
Put your own oxygen mask on first
One of your roles in times of crisis or challenge will be to remain calm and reassure your team. This will be tricky if you’re in the grip of fear or panic yourself. Ensure that you have support – someone to contact and help you work through your own emotions and processes them. Make sure that you are doing everything you can to look after yourself – the message below sums this up
Gauge the needs of your team
How are people feeling and what do you think they need? What’s your sense of the challenges some may be facing? What will they need from you? Ensure you know what specific individual challenges may be and be prepared to support those on a case by case basis. Acknowledge how you’re feeling too, but this is not the time to lean on them – you need to get your support from elsewhere.
Signal support for those who need it
Make sure that you know what formal support is in place in your organisation for those who may need it, and be clear how your team can access it.
Communicate more than normal
Be there. Now is the time to show up. Consider how you can do this.
You’ll have your comms processes and systems already set up, but is the frequency adequate at the moment? Do you need to communicate daily? At the beginning and end of the week? In challenging times, people need more communication, not less, so consider how you can put ‘little and often’ extra processes in place, to make your calm, reassuring presence felt. Your team will want to know that you are there and will look to you for leadership.
Manage what is discussed
Online team meetings where the sole topic of conversation is the current crisis may not be helpful. Your role might be to manage this, acknowledging the situation, but not letting it dominate. Lead as you’d like others to follow – set the tone. Emotions are contagious, so make sure yours is worth catching!
Have a clear message, foster some optimism, manage yourself. Find different approaches to lift the mood – maybe encourage people to share the view of their desk, the view from their window, their favourite mug or for those in different times-zones, their best pajamas and dressing gowns, with a mug of cocoa? In these times you’re doing what we call in coaching ‘holding a space’ for others.
Think about what you can do to encourage some more informal contact between your team members. Can you set up virtual coffees, lunches, end of day/week drinks, using an online platform? While you may not be able to be present at them all, encouraging your team to set these informal networks up if they don’t already do so may provide a lifeline to those who may be feeling isolated
Role-model what you’d like to see – this is your chance to show up and be the leader you’d need if you were in your team’s shoes.
I’m Susan Ritchie, an author, leadership and executive coach and trainer. I specialise in helping emerging leaders position themselves for seniority by through impact, presence and visibility. My second book, Strategies for Being Visible: 14 Profile-Raising Ideas for Emerging Female Leaders is now available as a paperback, an audiobook and for the Kindle reader.
If you’d like to be a better, stronger leader, and have a happier, more fulfilling career, Click Here To Email Me