Are you among the many leaders who need help thriving and growing in today’s work environment?
Here are five habits I have compiled from clients, resources, and my own habits:
1.0 Clear Digital Body Language
Ensure you are giving clear, concise messages that don’t confuse people or wait for clarity.
- Provide clear reasons for meetings for better-prepared attendees
- Don’t judge productivity by how long someone is active online (that doesn’t measure results, only collaboration time)
- Be civil to everyone and refrain from writing in all capital letters or potential offensive emojis
- Pay attention in meetings to the person speaking – don’t take calls, step away whether you are on or off camera
Suggested resource: “Digital Body Language” by Erica Dhawan
2. Collaborative Overload Protection
With priorities shifting quickly, leaders need to support team members in setting boundaries and delegating tasks.
- Collaborative overload can sneak up after you’ve been in your role for some time and shifts due to different business events. It’s often invisible to leaders when teams work remotely because you don’t see them staying late or coming in early.
- Consider setting one day per week as a “no meeting day” so teams have more time to do key follow-ups and focused work
- At one-on-one meetings, check in on how people feel about their workloads, especially team knowledge gaps or “useless meetings.”
- Role model setting boundaries between meetings and email and getting focus work done for your team
- Talk about how you juggle to normalize the ongoing process of setting and evaluating collaborative boundaries
Suggested Resource: HBR.org Article “Collaborative Overload is Sinking Productivity” by Rob Cross et al.
3.0 Fostering a culture of team support and resilience
Your team needs to feel supported by you and others to be their best at work. They need to know they won’t be punished or insulted for every mistake.
- Use “win/win” conflict resolution and ask questions like “How can we find a mutually agreeable solution?” instead of “What are you going to do now?”
- Don’t assume you know someone’s motivations or challenges. Be curious, ask open-ended questions to get all the facts, and allow the team to grow new skills. For example, “What do you think needs to happen?”; “How could I support you?”
Suggested Resource: HBR.org Article, “High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It” by Laura Delizonna
4.0 Encourage Job Crafting
One of the great learnings of the Great Resignation or Reset is that people want to feel like their work has meaning and purpose. The concept of job crafting is a way for employees to reimagine their roles to align with shared company values and purpose. When done effectively, it adds meaning and motivation to the job, increasing employee engagement and job satisfaction.
- Remind the team of common goals and how they align with the company mission and positive change for people, the planet, and the company.
- Each person brings a different set of values to work, so job crafting has to be done by the person doing the job
- Remind the team who relies on their work and why it matters
- Offer sincere compliments and awards for employees exemplifying company values. For example, when the Great Recession hit us all pretty hard, my employer gave me an “External Focus” award (one of the company values) for “achieving 50% sales growth in an unprecedented economy.”
Suggested Resource: Yale Podcasts “Crafting Your Job into a Calling” Professor Amy Wrzesniewski and President Salovey
5.0 Social Team Leadership
As a leader, you set the tone for how your team interacts with each other and cross-functionally.
- Be civil and kind to everyone, regardless of position. If your team sees you berate, insult, or embarrass someone, they will lose focus, productivity, and engagement.
- Never skip the small talk because that creates lasting bonds and allows us to feel connected even if we only meet on-site a few times a year. Plan for it in your meeting agenda.
- Share an “office-appropriate” story from your life outside work and encourage others to share theirs. My stories typically include fun new tech, concerts, and toddler and dog adventures.
- Be intentional and create spaces for your team to interact with each other on a human level. For remote teams, I’ve found that leaders who set aside time for everyone to share their “Win or WIP (work in progress) for the week” helped us feel more connected and created peer mentorship opportunities
- Lower internal success barriers and human fear of strangers by facilitating introductions to other departments and encouraging the team to do the same. Either at your one-on-one meetings or by inviting other departments to present new procedures and campaigns directly to the team at team meetings.
Suggested Resources: Tedx Talk “Why being respectful to your coworkers is good for business” by Christine Porath