These days more so than before, it’s essential to maintain connection with your team members. As a leader, how do you do that when so many businesses are working from home and you don’t have the ability to see the people face to face? With so much uncertainty how do you provide remote support?
You can only really provide support when someone trusts you and is open to receive it. Who do you need to be in order to earn their trust? How do you do it in a way that will be authentic and palpable despite the physical distance?
Have you ever been in an event where someone was speaking and while there was room full of people, you felt they were talking just to you? You felt inspired and ready to take action. How did they do that?
As a leader, the more you can connect with your team members in an open, honest fashion the more trust you will build. The more connected and engaged your team will be
Here are three important ways you can maintain connection even from a distance:
- Be Available and Accessible
- Be Personable
- Use Active Listening
Be Available and Accessible – we are in a time in history where people might feel isolated and uncertain about their future. While you might be having weekly team meetings and check ins, make sure that your team members know that you are available to them at other times. If you had open door policy at work than translate that into open connection policy while working remote. Even if you receive additional emails, instant messages or texts, be sure to be available for visual connection.
Be Personable – one of the things that can be very challenging is being able to make a connection through the computer screen. It’s not uncommon that when people look at a screen they freeze. Years ago, while doing a television show I remember being told to look to the side of the camera when giving my answers to the interview questions. It was strange to me that if I was supposed to connect with the audience I would look away from the camera. From that point on that shifted my strategy. I imagined someone on the other side of the camera and just had a direct conversation with them.
The good news is that when you do video conferencing there is a live person on the other side looking to see you on the computer and looking at your expressions. When speaking look into the other person’s eyes, smile, be warm and inviting.
Use Active Listening – when you are not face to face with people it is much easier to get distracted. People can even feel it through the phone based on someone’s hesitation and lack of response. Just because you are sitting home in front of a computer does not mean the other person doesn’t pick up when your distractions. People see your every move when you are on video so give them 100% of your undivided attention. Make sure to ask questions that convey interest. You can even lean in towards the camera slightly when engaging in conversation. Stay focused. It is more important than ever to practice your active listening skills.
Here is a Bonus Tip, as their team leader schedule one on one video calls with your team members. Don’t ask them about what they’re producing. Find out How they’re managing. How they are handling the changes and what challenges they might be dealing with. Always be sure to be a resource and provide support. For many people working from home can be very isolating. Maintain connections!
Author Bio: Dr. Karen Jacobson is the Founder & CEO of Aligned Leadership Academy, working with organizations to develop leaders and High-performance teams that are efficient, effective and engaged. www.drkarenjacobnson.com