Being prepared and present has always been at the core of good leadership. As some of us return to the office while others continue to work from home, it’s important to not only be an organized manager but to ensure you make an emotional connection.
How do we switch gears to foster relationships equally across your entire team? The key is to leverage best practices of communication that work for in-person and remote teams simultaneously.
heard it all before
The biggest mistake you can make during a meeting is to multitask, assuming you know what people are going to say because you’ve “heard it all before.” Take the time to be present, don’t assume or judge. Showing genuine interest and participating will naturally connect you with the team and lead to productive discussions.
Tip: Don’t assume or judge – remember to be present and participate.
Never underestimate the power of positivity. It’s amazing to see how a “can do,” “we got this,” and “how can I help?” attitude motivates people and turns around a stressful situation. Positive energy is not only reflected in what you say but in your expressions, tone, and body language. Remember to smile and lean in towards your speaker – even if your conversation is over the phone. Just doing these physical acts will increase your positive energy. There’s nothing more disheartening than to see or “sense” our colleague’s disapproval or frown on video or at the other end of the line.
Tip: Remember to smile with open and friendly body language.
get it right
Make sure you walk away with accurate information after a meeting. Not getting things right after people take the time to communicate wastes time and creates frustration. If needed, reach out to recap what you heard. It builds trust when people know that you care.
Tip: Get the information right after a meeting.
Following best practices for communicating with teams in the office or remotely helps build strong emotional connections. Always treat people with empathy and be respectful of the boundaries between work and life. Making yourself present and communicating without judgment will position you as a trusted leader on the team.
When everyone is in the office, there’s a buzz of ongoing communication and problem-solving that happens organically…popping your head in an office to ask questions, bumping into a colleague in the hallway, or hashing things out over a lunch conversation. Most of us have been physically away from the office over the past year and have developed new ways to communicate with our colleagues and clients. And while there may have been an overload of video conference calls with our most talkative co-workers on mute; we’ve all upped our “technology” game and are successfully getting our jobs done.
When the pandemic is over, or at least “over-ish,” some of us will return to the office full time, while many will remain remote. How do we switch gears to foster relationships and find the communication approaches that work for in-person and remote teams simultaneously?
1. Make the Connection
The most important step is to take the time and get to know your team again. The pandemic has made an impact on all of us and has forced many to reevaluate their priorities. Take the time to understand what’s important to your team members – in the workplace and their personal lives. Showing a genuine interest will naturally form connections, enabling you to uncover what you have in common and how you are different.
Tip: Don’t always be “all business” – remember to be human and socialize. The stronger you connect with each member of your team, the easier it will be to foster strong partnerships!
2. Be on time, be prepared, be present, and participate
These are best practices for all meetings, whether remote or in-person. If you are facilitating the meeting, make sure you have a clear agenda that can be accomplished during the scheduled time. Don’t make people afraid to attend your meetings because you always run late. If you are attending the meeting understand that you are accountable to be actively engaged, to listen and to participate.
Tip: End each meeting by confirming key decisions and next steps. This ensures that both you and your team walk away from the meeting with the same expectations and allows anyone who is unclear the opportunity to ask questions.
3. Discover what makes your team the most productive
Discover what types of communication work best for your team. Stop sending the same email that no one responds to or scheduling the weekly team meeting without an agenda. Pick up the phone and have a conversation, reach out for relevant topics the team wants to address, or schedule morning coffee with a colleague to catch up. Bottom line: if team communication becomes stagnant, change it up. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find the sweet spot to jump-start conversations and engagement.
Tip: This will likely be different for each of your team members and clients, so being flexible is an important part of being an impactful and productive leader.
Following best practices for team communication – remotely and in-person, helps build strong connections and fosters collaboration. Always use your team’s time wisely and be respectful of everyone’s work and life boundaries. By making yourself accessible and open to communicating in a way that works best for them, you’ll continue to hold your team’s respect – as an expert and as someone who’s genuinely concerned about their well-being.