By Jessica Merrill
Though some employees are slowly starting to return to their offices, most are still working from home, and they likely will be for the foreseeable future. While many workers have craved this kind of workplace flexibility for years, it brings new challenges for leaders.
Even the most seasoned managers have struggled with this new, virtual dynamic. How do you lead a team that you never actually see? How can you keep your community of employees engaged and motivated?
As one study from Oracle shows, there is a close link between a leader’s accessibility and approachability to their employees’ confidence and performance levels. With a lack of in-person interaction, leaders must learn and apply new skills that will help them stay visible and engaged with their employees (without becoming overbearing).
Investing in that kind of development for your leaders now can:
1. Communicate confidence in the future.
Most companies have experienced some sort of setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have had to make strategic budgetary decisions. While every company should make those decisions according to their ability and comfort, it’s important to look to the future rather than staying mired in the moment. How organizations respond now will be critically important to their future success — and employees are taking note. An investment in leadership development not only communicates confidence in a company’s leaders, but also in that company’s long-term resiliency and ability to see the big picture.
2. Help your leaders stay connected.
Leaders often maintain a lonely office — especially when that office doubles as a home. Are you making sure your leaders get the support they need? Do you know what kind of support they need?
An investment in leadership development builds community for leaders, creating a stronger connection to both the organization and to each other. Through this network, leaders can evaluate and improve their current approaches while using one other as resources.
3. Keep momentum going.
Developing your leaders can reignite momentum and re-focus employees on the larger mission and vision of their work during this rollercoaster year. Positive momentum is a measure of engagement, and engagement is key to an organization’s success. According to one Gallup study, engaged teams have lower turnover, 17% higher productivity and 21% greater profitability than their non-engaged counterparts. A healthy team is one that is adaptable and resilient, one that is always working toward a larger goal.
KWI’s approach to leadership development — one that is integrated into our client’s organizational structure with accountability embedded in its design — is a great solution to challenges presented by this virtual environment. Our organizational design experts would love to partner with you to equip your leaders to be more effective. Interested? Let’s talk.