A guide to remote leadership during the Coronavirus outbreak

In recent weeks, many people will have begun working from home for the very first time due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In this time of change and uncertainty, good leadership has never been more important.

For leaders used to a vibrant, buzzing office atmosphere, many are finding out that the sudden requirement  to direct, inspire and reassure a remote team is not easily done, even more so when anxieties in that team surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak and future job security is thrown into the mix.

Everyone seems to be on hand with reams of (mostly contradictory!) pieces of advice, so in an effort to help these leaders manage their newfound remote teams, we spoke to MaST, leadership development experts, who shared 4 of their crucial tips for effective remote leadership.

No 1 – Communicate regularly

The top complaint from remote workers is most commonly a lack of effective communication. Communication is a fundamental part of any business and without it, organisations quickly develop disengaged employees, reduced collaboration, task misunderstanding, unclear goals and much more.

A low-level of communication can also have a significant impact on employee wellbeing and mental health. General conversation is an overlooked part of morale in workplace, but in unprecedented isolation, ensuring good communication may well be at the core of team wellbeing and engagement.

No 2 – Be transparent

A sense of trust is central to high functioning teams but is undermined by fear and a sense of threat. The economic uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak can be fearful for us all, so being as transparent as possible about how the situation is being managed by the business is essential. Regular updates and discussions about concerns and what is being done to keep jobs secure can help to put employee minds at ease and optimise performance.

No 3 – Counter fear of change

It isn’t change itself that is feared, rather the threat to the individual from that change.  When looking at neuroscience, change activates a threat circuitry and can quickly expose worries of failure, rejection and criticism in employees.

Helping employees to recognise these emotions and promoting the many benefits of remote working can help to counter fear. Collaborative working can significantly counter negative thinking and increase a feeling of value in the individual’s place in the team.

No 4 – Remember, one size doesn’t fit all

There is likely to be a significant work-life conflict amongst employees, which will have a direct impact on time management and productivity. Understanding how best to deploy the individual resources in your team will mean you develop a smooth running, truly collaborative way of working and you’ll find yourself managing a highly effective team.

For further information on remote leadership and MaST’s remote learning programmes, contact peoplesolutions@mast.co.uk /  +44 (0)1628 784062.

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