Management By Walking Around….Virtually

Just because many companies are working remotely doesn’t mean that your staff isn’t experiencing strife. “He said” this and “she did” that and “I don’t know anything about this” are expressions that pop up, whether you’re remote or physically in the office.

When you hear these types of phrases occasionally, it’s normal and controllable. But if these expressions occur regularly, you need to investigate what’s going on.

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Managing Expectations

Everyone has their own standards of performance and achievement even if they don’t consciously think about them. The workplace supplements these standards by setting expectations for performance on the job.

Leaders need to be clear about their expectations, especially in our multigenerational workforce. What an older Baby Boomer experienced earlier in her career and expects as a given probably isn’t the norm today. If that same older Baby Boomer imposes 1970s expectations on a Gen Z employee, they may not be enthusiastically received.

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Virtual Onboarding

Last time we looked at issues related to virtual hiring and today’s topic is what to do after someone is hired. Virtual onboarding is obviously a little trickier than onboarding in person, so here are some tips. Some of these are obvious, but who hasn’t had a time when the obvious was forgotten?

+ Replace a job description with a statement of roles and accountabilities. Clearly identify what is expected and identify the accountabilities. Accountabilities are important because it demonstrates from the beginning that you expect the person to be responsible for outcomes. Review this on the first morning and check back during the next few weeks to make sure the person is clear on these responsibilities.

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In Order to Delegate, Learn to Develop

Many managers – especially inexperienced ones – suffer from resistance to delegation. They often declare that it’s easier to do it themselves than to ask someone less experienced to handle it.

The challenge is, of course, that if you don’t delegate, you’ll suffer from perennial mountains of work and your “delegatees” will never get the experience.

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Making Do With Less

As the reopening continues, leaders are once again facing new situations. The “current normal” (I don’t want to call it the “new normal”) is about making do with less. Fewer people are doing the work of many. Expenses are under scrutiny.

Leaders have been inevitably stressed with the myriad difficult decisions that have been made in the past several months. But it’s important to remember that everyone is stressed.

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Your People Are Watching You…What Are They Seeing?

Most of you are still leading remotely with your staff also working remotely, sometimes even with a skeleton crew in your place of work. Although we have become more accustomed to this after two months, it still feels surreal, doesn’t it?

I know you have been working tirelessly to keep everything together at your company. The new rules of work are changing all the time, so you’re reacting as the environment morphs.

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Attitude vs. Skills

What changes would you like to see in your team when you transition from sheltering at home and begin to return to the workplace? This is a great time to rethink higher standards and to articulate those expectations to your staff.

Here are some extremes to observe from the past six weeks or so. When working remotely, have your people:

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Video Explosion

Most leaders had experience with video conferencing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it seems that it’s everywhere. Resources such as GoToMeeting, TEAMs (Microsoft Office) and the now ubiquitous Zoom have overnight become essential communication tools.

Leaders who are managing a remote workforce should use one of these as part of frequent check ins with your teams. It gives you a little more information on how your staff is doing when you can see their faces on video rather than simply listening on a conference call.

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Create Some Structure

How are you and your staff handling the “new normal” of working remotely, that is, working from home during this pandemic? This is still relatively new to many, and one of the things that helps is to create some structure.

You need to stay connected to your staff, so you want to establish a check in time as a group and/or individually at predetermined times of the day. Here are some things to consider as you get into this groove.

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Closing the Perception Gap

An excellent way to close the gap between an employee’s self-perception and yours is to ask for a self-evaluation. This is something that can be integrated in your annual performance appraisal process.

I recommend that you include qualitative and quantitative questions in the self-appraisal. Think about asking 8-10 questions and ask for specific answers.

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