Why Communication is Key with Your Remote Team16 Jun 2020
As we continue to navigate the unsteady waters brought on by COVID-19, the idea of remote work is still very relevant and the top priority of many companies. While this precautionary measure is keeping the health and safety of workers at top of mind, it can also lead to lack of communication between the manager and employee.
With many people continuing to work from home, it’s your job as a business leader to develop strong lines of communication so that each individual feels valued and connected during these unprecedented times. More people are feeling afraid, worried, anxious and overwhelmed by the impact of the coronavirus, as stated by Lifeline, so it’s critical that you make yourself readily available to ensure they’re feeling happy, satisfied and stable with their workloads.
Achieving optimal communication patterns with your team while working remotely is critical for positive connection, inclusion and mental well-being from all sides. Here are a few tips for staying connected and having those challenging conversations with your virtual team members:
Be flexible with outlets for communication
While you don’t have the option to speak with employees face-to-face at the moment, there are so many different ways to communicate with your remote team. From instant messaging and email to phone calls and video conferencing, there are several outlets you and your team members can use to keep in touch.
It’s important, however, not to pressure your workers into using a communicative outlet on a daily basis if it makes them uncomfortable and seems to distract them from doing their best work. For instance, some team members may be more camera shy than others, or perhaps have lots of background noise because their children are home with them at the moment. Offering flexibility in terms of communication outlets can help your employees feel less stressed when it’s time to connect.
Start the conversation, but let them finish it
Whether you’re reaching out to a team member for a simple check-in discussion or to talk through a difficult transition, it’s more important than ever to give each employee the stage to talk and discuss how they’re feeling. Limited face-to-face interaction takes away the personal touch that comes with having difficult conversations, so being mindful of their feelings and giving them as much room to talk as possible is imperative. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be respectful of your team members and be as strong of a listener as you are a leader.
Make yourself readily available
Your team members are looking to you as their leader during these uncertain times. That means that no matter how difficult the situation may be, you need to make sure that they know you’re always available for a conversation. Make it very clear that the communication lines are always open no matter the depth of the situation.
In taking on a leadership role, you took responsibility for the inevitable challenges, such as those difficult conversations, that could potentially pop up during your tenure. Sometimes, there’s a stigma that comes with being a manager; you have to make strong decisions and have conversations that may have you fearful of being disliked or accused of taking wrong action steps.
But with the right preparation and skills for communicating in a positive yet assertive manner, you can help your team members feel comfortable and confident having those difficult conversations with you. In our Courageous Conversations for Leaders program, you’ll learn how to identify the barriers that often come with starting the dialogue, prepare honest feedback, build acceptance and accountability and more.
For more information on our communications training program, contact ICML today.