PART I - Your Mindset - Resist the urge to increase control. Look, I get it. The greater the uncertainty, the more we are tempted to try and control what we can. To get better results, we need to be doing the opposite. Focus on what you can do right now instead of trying to control people and situations. Use your energy to focus on your actions, behaviors and mindset. This is all you control and is your best course to achieving your goals. Stay in your power zone!
I’ve heard from a few leaders who are struggling with remote management. They believe they are responsible for making sure everyone is adhering to a regular work schedule and are looking for ways to “control” this. To this I say, remote work isn’t the problem. There are likely pre-existing issues around expectations and accountabilities. Use this time to create new ways of working. Here are a few ideas:
- Focus on results instead of ass-in-chair time but be very clear about the expectations and accountabilities. What is expected of each person, by when and how should they handle it when things go wrong? If targets are missed, what follow up is needed? Creating clear expectations and holding people accountable is where leaders typically fail. Doing this up-front makes it easier to stay on the same page when things go wrong and should reduce defensiveness and resistance to being held accountable.
- Discuss the work at home setup and brainstorm how you can support each other through distractions and finding a new norm that is productive. Sharing this creates connection and understanding versus judgement and dissention.
- Create a new meeting set up that is interesting and engaging. One idea - create a “COVID-19 Craziness” agenda item and allow a few minutes for everyone to share a story or their latest challenge. This allows time to be real about our challenges so we can then focus on our work.
Part II – Giving to Others – Today, let’s reach out to someone and practice our “listening to understand” skills. Now to make this really fun, I challenge you to pick someone you have been avoiding. Maybe this is a Debbie Downer, (no offense taken) someone who only complains and never seems to listen, someone who annoys you, but you still care about. Give this person the gift of listening with no intention of them reciprocating anything to you. Now before you give me a “oh hell no” here are ways this can improve your emotional intelligence:
- Puts other’s needs ahead of yours – giving attention when it is highly likely this will not be returned (think of it as anonymous donation)
- Expands your understanding of other’s perspective – try being curious vs. judgmental
- Increases Empathy – Creates a challenging stretch goal to grow this skill. Being empathetic to easy people doesn’t exactly move the needle on building this skill.