Monday, 20 april 2020 | Redacción CEU
In these times of coronavirus, companies have been forced to embrace teleworking as their main modality. Most of them have not had the opportunity to make a carefully considered decision, but rather a quick response to the current emergency situation. This was their only chance to survive. This is an unfavorable context which may lead to little organization and, consequently, to a lack of effectiveness. On the other hand, companies that had already opted for working remotely promptly have a head start. However, this does not mean that they are not facing new challenges. In the current circumstances, the figure of a strong leader who knows how to respond correctly and in proportion to the magnitude of the problem is, more than ever, essential. Leaders must also perform their duties in a really different scenario, and that poses an added challenge: How to lead teams remotely and efficiently?
The professionals who lead remotely are limited by many aspects: they cannot gather their teams in the same room and encourage them to interact, they cannot show their support with a pat on the back nor can they invite employees to have a coffee. Sometimes, in this kind of actions, there are hidden small details that bring a sense of closeness to leadership. However, virtual leadership does not have to be necessarily cold and distant. For example, the minutes leading up to a virtual meeting might serve as an informal invitation to interact and socialize. In addition to making a favorable impression as a professional, this is yet another good reason not to be late for an online meeting. Despite what is commonly accepted, leaders who are distant might even be closer than others who are physically closer at work. This is an issue that has more to do with the approach to leadership rather than the real distance that separate leaders from their employees.
Leaders who are distant, but approachable
Communication is one of the main keys to leadership. It is so both when it is established in-person as well as in virtual contexts. Nevertheless, it is especially in virtual contexts where communication must be carefully examined, as in online interactions some details are lost such as gestures, intonation, reaction time, etc. This may lead to situations that pose serious problems like taking for granted that a message has been understood when it has not, the provision of insufficient information about crucial actions or misunderstandings that might arise.
The ability to communicate is not based just on having good speaking and writing skills, being expressive or having a charismatic personality, but on being able to listen actively, built trust and show empathy. It is important to keep in mind that communication always needs two parties involved. If one of them only limits itself to taking a passive role, the interaction cannot be considered effective. Therefore, communication should be bidirectional and include questions, reflections, suggestions, proposals, etc. In short, it must reflect the participation of team members in order to be complete.
Good communication stimulates creativity and has an influence on employee loyalty. Both are fundamental aspects in these current times of emergency and crisis. In this current scenario, some aspects that are directly related to communication are even more necessary than ever such as clarifying the information or managing emotions (being resilient, managing frustration, being patient, etc.). Last Monday, Óscar Izquierdo Pérez, CEO of RENOVATIO Way to Go, offered a webinar about the importance of communication in times of crisis on the social networking sites where CEU IAM is present. We highly recommend it to those readers who are interested in knowing more about this topic.