So much has changed over the last year and a half, there has been a tectonic shift in the way we perceive things or conduct ourselves. Most of us feel uncertain about the future and everything it holds. Carrying out the responsibilities of a CXO, business owner, leader, or manager during the new normal – this rapidly evolving and, in a way, historic period – can seem daunting.
With no precedents in place, many a time, they are left to their own devices in dealing with the radical dynamics of the remote workplace. The need to ensure high levels of remote workforce productivity and the well-being of team members can often come at a personal cost.
Many young leaders can find it difficult to manage a remote workforce in the age of uncertainty – something that no amount of college education, internships, or prior training could have prepared them for. New managers are often caught silently juggling their personal and professional priorities, while the woes of managing geographically dispersed or large teams from home prove to be overwhelming.
Leadership in the new normal: Five essential managerial skills for the remote future
Succumbing to panic is never a solution. With uncertainty looming, managers need to focus on cultivating a very niche set of life and work skills. The below skills will not only guide them in navigating these troubled times but also empower them to come out of it stronger and more confident. And the most important thing about these skills is that some of them can be developed with practice over a relatively short period of time.
1. Clear and open communication:
Whether at work or home, communication tops the list of skills managers need to acquire at this hour. If there’s ever a good time to overcommunicate, it is now. Whether with a client, team member, or at times even with a life partner, defining a common goal, breaking it down into actionable items, agreeing on roles and responsibilities, and tracking them – all come down to articulation. With the goal simplified, and everyone’s role clearly worked out, managers can end up eliminating a lot of unnecessary stress! Mastering the art of listening is also a crucial part of communication and it is as important to take in-the-moment feedback as much as it is to give it.
Teams are a manager’s greatest asset; the most valuable tool to increase effectiveness and productivity. Remote or not, inculcating teamwork at the workplace is important for the overall growth of the organization as well as for personal growth. Working in a team means you get to see and test out new and different perspectives, and explore innovative solutions to problems. A team that banks on the collective power of its members have a way of mastering new things and delivering them effectively while opening doors that you never knew even existed.
3. Organization and delegation:
All managers juggle responsibilities. Managing their own workload while overseeing the work of team members, attending meetings and training sessions, carrying out appraisals, solving problems, and making decisions – are just a few of the routine activities on the managerial plate. At this level, delegation becomes a manager’s strong suit – an effective way to increase the amount of work they can accomplish while banking on the team's confidence and skills. The end results are increased personal time for managers and their team members, well-rounded teams, healthy competition, and improved productivity.
4. Problem-solving and decision-making:
Problem-solving is a welcome skill to have in a world where unique situations and challenges are the norms. The ability to analyze a problem and think critically within a short time frame, while evaluating all possibilities and outcomes, is an essential skill for a manager to have. To uphold the morale of the team and keep operations going, managers will often need to learn to think on their feet and make decisions on the fly. In such times, they can rely on the wisdom of their contemporaries, sponsors, mentors or predecessors, or leverage the advanced analytics-led technologies of today that help with complex problem-solving and provide actionable intelligence to guide decision-making.
5. Time management:
Time management is so much more than just being on time. It is about prioritizing tasks and learning to make the most out of one’s time without procrastinating. It is also about having control over the time spent on every task. Effective time management gives managers the upper hand of handling tasks on their terms, while not letting it encroach into their personal time. It helps avoid frustration, and the time saved can be invested in doing something they really enjoy.
Being in a managerial position is a big responsibility. Given the current state of affairs, acquiring these niche skills can help managers maintain well-balanced lives, and empower their teams to do so. Amid the uncertainty, they can continue to motivate their teams, while staying productive and self-fulfilled at all times.