Leadership in times of uncertainty
Let's tackle the most trending topic nowadays: working from home and how it relates to one of the most sought-after skillset: leadership.
Working from home
The first time I heard we'll be working from home, I must admit, I was very happy.
I kept counting how much time I will save by not commuting to work (which is fun, but more on that later) and how much spare time I will have for my side projects (this blog being one of them).
Sure, working from home seems easy. But it's not.
Social isolation is detrimental if taken in too large doses.
And this comes from an introvert.
Who would have thought?
I think the most important part for me, at least, is to feel productive. To have the sense that I managed to deliver on my promises and I ticked my daily work to-do list. (I have a lot of to-do lists, but more on that on another occasion).
So let's see the good and the bad of working from home.
You get a lot of free time to pursue any of your hobbies.
As a bonus, if you're lucky, you get to have new co-workers.
You don't always feel productive.
You need to organize your time better. Time management can get tricky - you'll need to be a good time manager.
So how is all of this affecting a leadership role? In many ways.
Do we need to adapt our leadership style? Of course, if we want to get positive outcomes from our activities.
Leadership is an art form. Much more important today - in the context of remote home - than ever before.
The question of `How can I be a better team lead ?` equates, to me at least, to figure out ways to help my team reach our common objectives.
Below are some advice & ideas I gathered during my years of activity - adapted to our new working reality.
Be available to solve problems and be decisive in getting things done.
Be a good leader and be there for your team.
Make most of your time & effort to help things progress.
Show how to finish different tasks, collaboratively.
Focus on results and drive towards achievements.
Maintain a fine balance between support and challenge, especially when mentoring young talents.
Learn when to let go and when to pull harder - I can't express how important this is in today's world.
It's critical to understand when to take matters into your own hands and when to let your team handle the issue.
Empower your team!
Be respectful of everyone's time
In any meetings, planned or ad-hoc, respect everyone's time.
Create a pre-meeting agenda that is sent across to all participants.
Make sure your schedule is visible and let everyone know when you’re taking a break.
Block time in your most productive hours (for me it's in the mornings, before lunch) to get that analytical thinking on, that solves issues and untangles complex problems.
Be accountable & responsible
Be responsible for your actions and your team.
Be someone on which other people can count on, both for the hard skills, like technical design and for advice.
Take responsibility and admit when you make a mistake: no-one is perfect!
Understand that your drive and motivation can be both incredibly inspiring and extremely demotivating (when it's lacking).
Build a meeting around the most important topics that need to be solved.
Use video on calls - this allows for much better interaction. I find it easier to relate and figure out the other party's requests by seeing and hearing them.
Provide proper guidance and have a positive can-do attitude.
Give credit and praise whenever something good and of value is produced, when someone achieves a milestone or goes the extra mile.
Be who you needed when you were in a bind