March 16, 2020
Leading a remote team may be new for you as increasing tension around the Coronavirus urges businesses to send their employees home. How can you mindfully and effectively guide others as you navigate through this unknown territory?
First, Check-in with Yourself
Before diving into the logistics of managing a remote team, it’s important to take stock of your well-being first. Take a moment to pause. Notice the thoughts and emotions that are arising right now. Notice sensations in the body. Acknowledge and be present with whatever it is you’re experiencing.
It can be helpful to give language to the emotions you’re feeling. There might be a sense of unease or overwhelm. It might feel exciting or terrifying – or both. Perhaps it feels like you are unexpectedly kayaking through rapids.
“Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape. It never goes away.” – Andy Stanley
Consider beginning each day with a few minutes of mindfulness – a foundational practice that allows you to shore yourself up so that you can begin each day feeling more centered and clear.
Take those few minutes to reconnect with yourself by registering for an upcoming Mindful Daily.
Self-compassion means accepting your thoughts and feelings with openness and without judgment. It also includes recognizing our common humanity, knowing that whatever you are experiencing, you are not alone.
We’re all thrown off balance right now. The outbreak of COVID-19 is a massive and precipitous threat, with the need for a rapid response – and with little time to prepare.
We are all stepping up to this higher purpose: to protect one another. In addition to minimizing our own exposure, we are acting on behalf of the greater good. Working remotely is a compassionate act.
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Many employees appreciate the opportunity to work remotely. This is a chance for them to do their best work individually and collectively – a chance for them to really shine.
And, in this time of unease and uncertainty, your team needs your mindful leadership. They need your calm presence and a sense of clarity and focus. As you shift into working remotely, your team needs to feel connected to you and to one another.
Ten Tips to Consider when Managing a Remote Team
1) Connect with your staff one-on-one on a regular basis. Ask how they’re doing and what kind of support they need.
2) Eliminate distractions so you can be fully present to listen, empathize, and offer compassion.
3) Connect as a team. Team members need one another. They need to feel unified toward a common aim.
4) Be honest even if uncertain. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, sharing your own uncertainty or unease as a way to engender trust and build connection.
5) Be clear about expectations and stay on track with projects.
6) Remember that your team is innovative and capable of rising to this challenge. Their diverse talents and strengths are invaluable right now.
7) Communicate more than ever via email, texts, phone calls, and video chats. Match the technology to the task. Consider handwritten messages of appreciation sent by mail.
8) Bring in resources as needed, for example, someone from IT support who can offer guidance along the way as team members shift to working remotely.
9) Create a culture of continual learning. John F. Kennedy said that “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Learning agility means being open to new ideas and systems, viewing mistakes as opportunities for learning.
10) Attend to yourself. By nurturing your own wellbeing, you’ll be more present and better able to lead those who are counting on you.
Practice the STOP Method for Reducing Overwhelm
This mindfulness technique, known as STOP, takes only a minute. It’s especially useful when you’re feeling reactive or overwhelmed – helping you make decisions and move forward with greater calmness and clarity.
STOP. Take a moment to pause.
TAKE a breath.
OBSERVE your experience without judging.
PROCEED with the action most needed in that moment.
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High performing teams are clear about their shared purpose. They trust one another and their leader and feel free to express feelings and ideas.
The best leaders bring people together, inspiring and supporting their teams. Your caring, compassionate, and skillful leadership will support your team’s highest performance – allowing them to really shine through this transition, and this uncertain and challenging time.
Written by Kathleen Jones.