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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Do You Have a System to Manage Deadlines?

Most deadlines aren’t just one giant event happening on a given day. Rather, there are myriad small deadlines that lead up to that big event.

Managing multiple deadlines is challenging, and I’ve found that one system doesn’t fit every person. You need to proactively find a system that works best for you and implement it consistently.

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Breaking Through a Blockade

Even the most upbeat, positive leaders hit obstacles. Ordinary difficulties are usually annoyances rather than true impediments. You figure out what needs to be done and you take care of it.

Every once in a while, though, you might hit a “blockade”. This can be considerably more intense than the usual obstacle, so you need to deal with it differently.

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