Welcome to Pendulum’s pre-event amplify sessions – a series of videos, articles, tools and strategies to prepare you for the world-class speakers and accelerated growth at Pendulum Resurgence on November 27th.
The theme for this session is Leading Through Disruptive Times and Organisational Resilience. Leading yourself and others is always both challenging and rewarding, but a leader’s true mettle is tested in dynamic and disruptive conditions. When uncertainty is high and the ground is shifting under your feet, an adaptive mindset is vital. Leading in disruptive times requires accepting the new reality (releasing long held beliefs) and adjusting your thinking (updating assumptions) while determining viable options and keeping your team focused and motivated.
These are unprecedented times… you’ve heard it over and over, but the truth is these past few months have allowed many to create an unprecedented opportunity that they wouldn’t have ever been able to have created before now. This could be YOU!
Get ready to welcome Pendulum Resurgence: Emerging From Disruption into your home and transform your life!
Check out the videos, articles and downloads below.
Stop Playing The Victim With Keith Cunningham
Baroness Michelle Mone On Resilience In Business
More Inspiration From Past Pendulum Speakers
From Office To Remote Leadership: How To Adjust Your Approach
PTC CIO Abbas Faiq shares some of the concrete ways he ensures his teams feel supported while working remotely…
Like many organisations across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work. We’re more reliant on collaboration technologies than ever before – they are our lifeline to maintain communication among teams and customers and help us get work done. It’s also highlighted the importance of our digital journey. As a result, some of our digital transformation projects have been expedited.
Of course, this new way of work has been hard, too. Our teams are adjusting to remote work, balancing family, and schooling children. As a result, it’s been more important than ever for me, as the CIO, to make sure my teams feel supported.
I’ve done this in a few ways. First, I’ve become more visible not just to my direct reports, but to extended team members as well. Back when we were in the office this was easy – I’d walk around and talk to people. Now that we’re remote, I can’t do that. Instead, I’ve started periodically joining extended leadership team meetings to give updates and let people know that I’m available if anyone needs me, just like I was when we were working in the office.
Second, I’m encouraging my managers to be empathetic and show it in their actions. Working remotely has turned the traditional work day on its head, for example. Some people are up working at 6:30 a.m. and others are working late into the night. This can make it feel like a never-ending work day.
I’m encouraging my managers to set boundaries, and I’m walking that walk, too. If I send an email at 7 p.m., for example, I’ll tell the recipients that I don’t need a response tonight – tomorrow is fine. If my managers are encouraging people to log off at the end of the day, maybe they don’t even send that email at night because it can wait. Practice what you preach.
Additionally, we’re noticing that people are not taking time off from work now that everyone is home. People need a break now more than ever, and so we’re encouraging our staff to take time for themselves to disconnect and recharge, whether it’s a half day, full day, or two days.
In these unprecedented times, it’s important to display your leadership, support your teams, and practice empathy. We’ll get through this together.
*Adapted From enterprisersproject.com
A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers
In response to the uncertainties presented by Covid-19, many companies and universities have asked their employees to work remotely. While close to a quarter of the U.S. workforce already works from home at least part of the time, the new policies leave many employees — and their managers — working out of the office and separated from each other for the first time.
Although it is always preferable to establish clear remote-work policies and training in advance, in times of crisis or other rapidly changing circumstances, this level of preparation may not be feasible. Fortunately, there are specific, research-based steps that managers can take without great effort to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees, even when there is little time to prepare.
Common Challenges of Remote Work
To start, managers need to understand factors that can make remote work especially demanding. Otherwise high-performing employees may experience declines in job performance and engagement when they begin working remotely, especially in the absence of preparation and training. Challenges inherent in remote work include:
Lack of face-to-face supervision: Both managers and their employees often express concerns about the lack of face-to-face interaction. Supervisors worry that employees will not work as hard or as efficiently (though research indicates otherwise, at least for some types of jobs). Many employees, on the other hand, struggle with reduced access to managerial support and communication. In some cases, employees feel that remote managers are out of touch with their needs, and thereby are neither supportive nor helpful in getting their work done.
Lack of access to information: Newly remote workers are often surprised by the added time and effort needed to locate information from coworkers. Even getting answers to what seem like simple questions can feel like a large obstacle to a worker based at home.
This phenomenon extends beyond task-related work to interpersonal challenges that can emerge among remote coworkers. Research has found that a lack of “mutual knowledge” among remote workers translates to a lower willingness to give coworkers the benefit of the doubt in difficult situations. For example, if you know that your officemate is having a rough day, you will view a brusque email from them as a natural product of their stress. However, if you receive this email from a remote coworker, with no understanding of their current circumstances, you are more likely to take offense, or at a minimum to think poorly of your coworker’s professionalism.
Social isolation: Loneliness is one of the most common complaints about remote work, with employees missing the informal social interaction of an office setting. It is thought that extroverts may suffer from isolation more in the short run, particularly if they do not have opportunities to connect with others in their remote-work environment. However, over a longer period of time, isolation can cause any employee to feel less “belonging” to their organization, and can even result in increased intention to leave the company.
Distractions at home: We often see photos representing remote work which portray a parent holding a child and typing on a laptop, often sitting on a sofa or living-room floor. In fact, this is a terrible representation of effective virtual work. Typically, we encourage employers to ensure that their remote workers have both dedicated workspace and adequate childcare before allowing them to work remotely. Yet, in the case of a sudden transition to virtual work, there is a much greater chance that employees will be contending with sub-optimal work spaces and (in the case of school and daycare closures) unexpected parenting responsibilities. Even in normal circumstances family and home demands can impinge on remote work; managers should expect these distractions to be greater during this unplanned work-from-home transition.
How Managers Can Support Remote Employees
As much as remote work can be fraught with challenges, there are also relatively quick and inexpensive things that managers can do to ease the transition. Actions that you can take today include:
Establish structured daily check-ins: Many successful remote managers establish a daily call with their remote employees. This could take the form of a series of one-on-one calls, if your employees work more independently from each other, or a team call, if their work is highly collaborative. The important feature is that the calls are regular and predictable, and that they are a forum in which employees know that they can consult with you, and that their concerns and questions will be heard.
Provide several different communication technology options: Email alone is insufficient. Remote workers benefit from having a “richer” technology, such as video conferencing, that gives participants many of the visual cues that they would have if they were face-to-face. Video conferencing has many advantages, especially for smaller groups: Visual cues allow for increased “mutual knowledge” about coworkers and also help reduce the sense of isolation among teams. Video is also particularly useful for complex or sensitive conversations, as it feels more personal than written or audio-only communication.
There are other circumstances when quick collaboration is more important than visual detail. For these situations, provide mobile-enabled individual messaging functionality (like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) which can be used for simpler, less formal conversations, as well as time-sensitive communication.
If your company doesn’t have technology tools already in place, there are inexpensive ways to obtain simple versions of these tools for your team, as a short-term fix. Consult with your organization’s IT department to ensure there is an appropriate level of data security before using any of these tools.
And then establish “rules of engagement”: Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication for their teams. For example, “We use videoconferencing for daily check-in meetings, but we use IM when something is urgent.” Also, if you can, let your employees know the best way and time to reach you during the workday (e.g., “I tend to be more available late in the day for ad hoc phone or video conversations, but if there’s an emergency earlier in the day, send me a text.”) Finally, keep an eye on communication among team members (to the extent appropriate), to ensure that they are sharing information as needed.
We recommend that managers establish these “rules of engagement” with employees as soon as possible, ideally during the first online check-in meeting. While some choices about specific expectations may be better than others, the most important factor is that all employees share the same set of expectations for communication.
Provide opportunities for remote social interaction: One of the most essential steps a manager can take is to structure ways for employees to interact socially (that is, have informal conversations about non-work topics) while working remotely. This is true for all remote workers, but particularly so for workers who have been abruptly transitioned out of the office.
The easiest way to establish some basic social interaction is to leave some time at the beginning of team calls just for non-work items (e.g., “We’re going to spend the first few minutes just catching up with each other. How was your weekend?”). Other options include virtual pizza parties (in which pizza is delivered to all team members at the time of a video conference), or virtual office parties (in which party “care packages” can be sent in advance to be opened and enjoyed simultaneously). While these types of events may sound artificial or forced, experienced managers of remote workers (and the workers themselves) report that virtual events help reduce feelings of isolation, promoting a sense of belonging.
Offer encouragement and emotional support: Especially in the context of an abrupt shift to remote work, it is important for managers to acknowledge stress, listen to employees’ anxieties and concerns, and empathize with their struggles. If a newly remote employee is clearly struggling but not communicating stress or anxiety, ask them how they’re doing. Even a general question such as “How is this remote work situation working out for you so far?” can elicit important information that you might not otherwise hear. Once you ask the question, be sure to listen carefully to the response, and briefly restate it back to the employee, to ensure that you understood correctly. Let the employee’s stress or concerns (rather than your own) be the focus of this conversation.
Research on emotional intelligence and emotional contagion tells us that employees look to their managers for cues about how to react to sudden changes or crisis situations. If a manager communicates stress and helplessness, this will have what Daniel Goleman calls a “trickle-down” effect on employees. Effective leaders take a two-pronged approach, both acknowledging the stress and anxiety that employees may be feeling in difficult circumstances, but also providing affirmation of their confidence in their teams, using phrases such as “we’ve got this,” or “this is tough, but I know we can handle it,” or “let’s look for ways to use our strengths during this time.” With this support, employees are more likely to take up the challenge with a sense of purpose and focus.
We’ll add our own note of encouragement to managers facing remote work for the first time: you’ve got this. Let us know in the comments your own tips for managing your remote employees.
*Adapted From hbr.org
Want to Improve Your Remote Leadership Skills? Ask Yourself 4 Simple Questions About Each Employee. Leading remote employees is never a one-size-fits-all approach.
Managing is difficult, even under ideal circumstances. Add in a remote setting, and it gets even trickier.
But working remotely doesn’t prevent you from leading effectively. If anything, it highlights a critical skill all managers could stand to improve. And that’s understanding the personalities of the people you lead.
Take a moment to think about a direct report. How do they like to communicate? How do they prefer to receive feedback? According to the Predictive Index, there are four motivating needs, or “drives,” that have the biggest effect on workplace behaviors: dominance, extroversion, patience, and formality.
This is important to know, because the more insight you have into employee behavior in the workplace, the easier it is to tailor your leadership style to this person’s needs.
To make this practical and applicable, ask yourself four simple questions about your employee:
1. How dominant are they?
A dominant personality prefers independence. They like owning a task and seeing it through on their terms. Conversely, someone who is less dominant prefers collaboration. They relish the team effort that brings a task to completion. And when conflict arises, they seek compromise.
Depending upon where your employee falls, the way you manage them may change drastically. If they’re highly dominant, give them opportunities to work independently. Encourage them to take on new tasks and projects while remote. Moreover, recognize them for their contributions.
If your employee is less dominant, do the opposite. Find ways for them to work collaboratively — whether that’s over email threads, video calls, or shared documents. Recognize the impact of their work as part of the larger team.
2. How extroverted are they?
Remote work affects everyone, but especially more outgoing people. Just as an introvert needs time to think and reflect, an extrovert needs time to talk and socialize. So when the hustle and bustle of the workplace is replaced by the solitude of a home office, the change can be jarring.
To help an extroverted employee acclimate to remote work, find ways to maintain the social interactions of an office setting. Provide regular check-ins via video calls. Create chat rooms in messaging platforms like Slack, or even schedule virtual coffee breaks.
At the same time, allow your more reserved employees to thrive in this setting. Give them the freedom to interact with co-workers at a pace that’s comfortable for them. You can even encourage them to share best practices with those who may be struggling with remote work.
3. How patient are they?
An employee who is highly patient enjoys stability. A patient personality is also known for being calm, collected, and methodical with their work. By contrast, a less patient personality craves change. They enjoy juggling multiple tasks and the variety it brings to their workday.
To manage patient employees when remote, lean into their calm demeanor. Rely on them to support other team members, carrying out tasks as needed. Allow them the time to be productive at a pace that works for them.
For your less patient employees, look for opportunities to add variety to their workday. Even with the added disruptions of children, pets, and laundry, remote work can quickly feel routine. Give these employees tasks that’ll keep them on their toes throughout the day.
4. How formal are they?
If an employee is highly formal, they enjoy structure. They view rules as facts and tend to follow them down to the fine print. Compare this personality to a more informal one. This type of employee values flexibility over rigid structure. To them, rules are more like guidelines.
With your formal employees, be sure to give them the structure they need. Set clear expectations about upcoming tasks, and communicate deadlines so they can stay on track. Consider them an expert in their field, and look for ways you can help them grow.
Your informal employees don’t require nearly the same direction, nor do they want it. Be careful not to micromanage them. Instead, trust them to complete tasks their way, even if it’s different from what you’re used to. Just ask that they provide regular updates as they go.
Leadership is never a one-size-fits-all approach. As remote work becomes more prevalent, make sure you manage your people how they want to be managed. The sooner you adopt this mindset, the better off your people–and organization–will be.
*Adapted from inc.com