Supercharge Working Remotely – Limitless Leadership™ – Renée Giarrusso
Supercharge Working Remotely by Renée Giarrusso – Contents
- Strange days indeed
- Supercharging your leadership is needed now more than ever
- Leading remote teams
- More productive at home?
- Challenges are real
- Key tips to Supercharge Working Remotely
- How do you maximize productivity while working remotely?
- Categorize your key “work” functions
- Maximize your productivity
- Connect through positive emotion – not fear
Limitless Leadership™: Supercharge Working Remotely
Limitless Leadership™ is based on the premise of learning, unlearning, forever evolving and having an infinite mindset of what could be. Whether you are managing teams on site or remotely, leadership can be learnt and built upon.
In today’s workforce, managers can often be the unsung heroes. Pivotal to an employee’s performance, motivation and happiness at work they have the power to influence how engaged employees are. In essence they drive how people may think, feel and act, therefore have great impact on the culture of their organisation.
Strange days indeed
The global pandemic COVID-19 has forced many workplaces into lockdown with employees working remotely from home, in shifts, or on a full-time basis.
Many are working remotely. Many of those around us are in a state of flux, fear, and anxiety. The familiar smiles from the coffee shops are fading, the roads are quiet and there is a strange energy in the air as we remain uncertain of our future, our health, our work and all that we planned.
Supercharging your leadership is needed now more than ever
In these times of uncertainty, change, and disruption, as leaders I believe this is an opportunity to shine and level up in our leadership through new ways of working, thinking, and collaborating. With a major pivot, we can all get through this. The majority of work has been postponed and we have been working feverishly around the clock to change HOW we deliver what we do. Going from chaos to calm is important as we navigate a landscape we have never seen before in our lifetime.
Leading remote teams
Leading remote teams is fast becoming part of the new normal due to our current situation and the accessibility of technology, better working practices and a downturn in the need to invest in expensive offices. Some businesses access all they need from a backpack. Whoever would have thought this was even possible?
More productive at home?
A report from the UN International Labour organisation found that while many employees are more productive when they work outside of the conventional office, they’re also more vulnerable to working longer hours, a more intense work pace, work-home interference, and, in some cases, greater stress.
The Challenges are real
Recent research from Soapbox indicated that remote managers experience retention challenges 6 times higher than on site managers. They also discovered that remote managers struggle 2 times more than on site managers when getting their teams to collaborate. This is due to distance, time zones and other factors.
Another finding was that managers leading remotely found hitting team goals almost twice as hard as when leading onsite. It was also discovered that managers with more than 50% of their team working remotely struggle with providing value to employees in one-on-one catch ups. Another key finding was that 56% of employees surveyed believe that managers need to adapt their skills to lead a remote workforce.
As leaders we need to step up and supercharge our leadership.
In conjunction with these challenges, many other barriers block our way to successfully lead teams and businesses remotely.
Key tips to Supercharge Working Remotely:
Lead with empathy
Empathy requires us to lean in and really feel what other people are going through.
Don’t assume everyone is seeing the world the same way as you. Take the time to be present and have deep and meaningful interactions with your team and peers.
Simple questions such as; How can I support you right now? Would you like me to talk or just listen? Is there anything else I can help you with?
A change of mindset can be a barrier. An adaptative mindset around creating new norms is crucial when we go from an office environment to working in isolation. When we shift from what know there is uncertainty and as humans, we aren’t good at dealing with the unknown so reframing expectations is vital here.
Remember thoughts and what we tell ourselves lead to how we feel and therefore what we action. Be conscious of what you are thinking and the story you are creating. Talk to yourself as a friend would.
Sole or group environment
In the workplace there are those that lean towards working in a sole environment and most probably will usually adapt more easily to working remotely than someone who is motivated by people around them. Many people struggle to stay motivated working alone, even with access to online collaborative tools and new ways of working.
Ensure you tap into each person and amplify technology as a conduit to collaboration and don’t assume that everyone has adjusted to working remotely in the same way.
Set new expectations
A change in working conditions can lead unclear expectations, boundaries and ways of working. For an employee having no direction or leadership is like driving somewhere using google maps without inputting a destination. There is nowhere to aim for or reach which can stifle action, motivation and overall moral.
Unclear purpose, objectives and expectations of the business, team and roles is widespread especially when new norms aren’t in place and accepted.
Ensure expectations are discussed as team and everyone set boundaries for what they will and won’t stand for (such as working hours, breaks)
Set up your environment
The environment we work from can be a barrier. Lack of room, light, interaction, systems and processes can stifle our productivity, motivation and overall performance. Communication can become fragmented when a team is split up. A lack of training in new systems and other tools needed to do their job from home can impact confidence and productivity.
Ensure work spaces are set up for success and the technology and systems are assessed, understood and utilised.
Managing time and prioritising is another common challenge and distractions from visitors, loved ones and even the family pet can get in the way. We may find loneliness creeps in. We are wired to connect, so this is a natural and common occurrence. I spoke with a client this week, who feels like she has FOMO – fear of missing out – and being out of the loop because she relocated to her home office from a fast-paced open plan office environment.
Manage self to manage time and ensure everyone has a work plan and boundaries around this.
Use physical disconnection to drive Connection
Human beings are wired for connection, it’s an innate need to belong and be part of a community. Ensure as a leader you jealously protecting time for 1:1s (often first to be forgotten), team catch ups and quick check in calls to keep the lines of communication open. Be innovative and have virtual lunches, themes of the day and different times you catch up.
Use a variety of tools to connect and leverage the technology available.
Coach and grow team members to facilitate team catch ups so you aren’t always in the driver’s chair.
There is a gift in every situation and now is your time to shine as a leader, collaborate more deeply with your team and look at new ways of working to lift performance.
The world needs you, now is the time to step up and supercharge your leadership.
Maximize productivity working remotely
Speaking with a client about how to maximize productivity while working remotely. I shared my office set up with him and the way I categorize tasks and resources in different locations. Keep in mind this was a subconscious thing until now and something I just did!
Categorize your key “work” functions
In my practice if I break it down to the basics my work goes across 4 key areas:
In my world I like to do each of those functions in different places and this has always served me well as far as focus, quality and efficiency. This may not be for everyone but being an alternative thinker, highly creative and super organised this is the way I roll and it works for me.
Think and Create
In my practice I actually cluster my tasks within each week and allocate time to thinking and creating. I block this out and jealously protect this time, as it is such an important element of my thought leadership. “Thinking” for me relates to creating new IP, writing blogs such as this and reading and writing books and articles.
I have an L-shaped desk in my office and allocate the front space to thinking time. From here I have a view to an amazing 60-year old tree and lots of natural light. Here I keep the space totally uncluttered so I am free to think, I have access to my books in a cubed unit behind this space and also a white board and large notepad. If I’m working from home I sometimes sit in the courtyard and do this as I find it elevates my thinking. When on the run between clients I get a lot of thinking done in cafes and when writing my book I joined a few libraries and used this space only to write my book.
The other part of thinking for me is around designing workshops based on my IP and I do this usually on my PC utilising a monitor that is at the centre of my desk.
This category includes:
- Anything else that doesn’t fall into the other areas
I do this at the center of my desk and tasks include invoicing, emails, liaising with my Client Services Manager, updating my CRM, managing my diary and so on. This area usually relies on systems so a lot is done via my trusty laptop.
Tasks I complete here are quite process driven in nature.
For me this involves tasks such as:
- Making phone calls
- Updating my sales pipeline
- Liaising with clients over the phone, Zoom or Skype, (unless I see them face-to-face)
I spend a lot of time here designing proposals based on clients’ needs. I tend to do this at a separate table in my office where I sometimes meet clients. I always keep this table clear and I find in this space I have a clear head, my notes and PC and therefore clear space to focus and be present to my client and my solution for them.
This area for me is usually face to face with my clients. An example could be when delivering workshop or coaching programs or speaking at an event. As of last year I have started doing a lot of coaching and mentoring virtually and I do this at the same table as where I do my selling so I am fully immersed and at service with whomever I am working.
Maximise your productivity
If you look at how this works it’s fairly simple.
Categorise your key work functions and resources into different physical locations, this is sometimes referred to as being spatially mobile. My office isn’t large; you don’t need the massive corporate suite or 3 rooms at home to create an office. Find what works for you, change it up until it does and maximise your self-management and focus to achieve your goals and have a bit of fun along the way.
Connect through positive emotion – not fear
Working with many leadership teams over the last few weeks I really noticed how much anxiety, distraction and overwhelm was present. Not only in peoples thinking but in their overall demeanour. Even upon driving to sessions I’ve noticed people walking around staring aimlessly at their phones, face masks on and very little human interaction or connection to be seen. I even observed a guy in a lift take his jacket off, wrap it around his hand and then push the lift button.
This isn’t surprising behaviour given the current world events. It is natural for us to come from a place of fear versus a place of love but we need to make a choice and it’s one we all have access to.
Love is a positive emotion that connects us whereas fear disconnects us from others.
Coming from a place of love in situations where we default to fear can serve us in a multitude of ways. Our thoughts determine our feelings and therefore the action we take.
We need to make a conscious effort to:
The smallest actions can build deeper connection to self and others and can make a huge difference. I let someone go before me at the checkout at Coles last night and this was received with so much gratitude.
Focus on what isn’t changing and the things you can control
The recent toilet paper fiasco was a result of people doing control in “ overdrive” by overbuying to feel they have some control in the situation.
Look at focusing on small things like daily routines and habits that serve you.
Come from a place of love and perspective, not from a place of blame
Ask yourself “What would love do?” when questioning how to respond to things.
Reflect on your view of the situation and the language you are using
Communication is the response you get. Make sure the team you are leading or are in is fostering open, clear and intentional communication (especially if now working remotely)
Is this hindering or helping you and others? How is your team interacting?
Show empathy and compassion
Others may view things differently to you so consistently lean in to how others are feeling and appreciate them.
Remind ourselves we are all connected
We know that together we are better and reinforcing the fact we are all connected and have an innate need for connection can drive a connective energy.
Respond vs. reacting
A response is driven by logic opposed to a reaction that is emotionally led and often regretted. Take the time breath, pause and then respond.
Invest in the time to reflect on your story and thoughts from a place of love, this will flow on to your actions. Being connected to ourselves is vital especially at times like this. It’s the foundation to deeper connective relationships and interactions with others in and out of the workplace.
I’ve recently been writing on The Gift of Connection, one of 12 Gifts, in my upcoming book, consists of two key elements: self connection and connection to others.We cannot be fully connected to others until we tune in to ourselves.
I’d love to hear how you and your teams/s are consciously connecting? Remember we are here to help you through any challenge you’re facing right now. Please reach out if you need to!
Lead to Be Limitless…
About Renée Giarrusso
Renée is an accomplished speaker, author, facilitator, trainer, and coach (PCC). She works with leaders, organizations, and teams energizing mindset, collaboration, and culture to lift performance.
She founded RG Dynamics 13 years ago after 18 years working in senior leadership, sales and marketing roles within a global FMCG. She has been working with leaders and teams across 24 industries including Telecommunications, Building, Engineering, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Professional Services, Consumer Durables, Government (job services), automotive, electronics and many more.
Renée is obsessed with working with individuals and their teams to fulfill their potential resulting in increased performance and success. She believes everyone is limitless in their ability to achieve this through applying skills, habits and a leadership mindset. Her expertise in growing and developing capability and behavioral change around leadership, communication, coaching, presentation skills, and motivational intelligence leave her clients inspired, re-energized and with improved results. Renée published her first book Limitless Leadership™ in 2017, was featured in the anthology Leaders of Influence in 2018, and her third book is currently underway.
Renée works with organizations to help them develop and deeper understand their mindset, motivation, and communication resulting in increased productivity, performance, team collaboration, and a limitless culture.
Connect with Renée
Connect for a chat on how she and her team can assist at an individual, team or organization level and accelerate your mindset, collaboration, and performance to create Limitless Leadership™
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