Leadership has many definitions. It is inspiring others and yourself to be and do better. It is influencing others while they influence you. Leadership creates the vision and the direction to fulfill that vision. The core of leadership has not changed. What has changed, is the platform from which we lead.
With the push into virtual work, people have struggled with leading virtually. In this researcher’s humble opinion, the difference is the lack of physical interaction. It is only the platform that has changed.
What are the general challenges of leadership? Engagement? Delegation? Organization? Scheduling? Trust? Well, have the challenges themselves changed?
Authentic leadership entails being open to your own challenges with others. This provides a space for others to feel more comfortable with their own struggles, knowing they are not alone. It is inspiring to know that everyone is human with struggles. And, let’s get real, everyone has struggles somewhere.
Inspire and motivate others. In doing so, you will find inspiration from others in return. Nothing is impossible, no matter how frustrating it may be. Encourage others to find solutions. Ask for their opinion on a matter. Be aware of where people are, mindful of the social cues that do still come across a virtual screen.
Be honest and optimistic. And there is a difference between honesty and just being mean about something. Yes, times are more difficult for some than others, that does not mean anyone needs to be mean about the reality of the situation. Remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Encourage trust and teamwork. As a leader, you should be trusting others to do their work. If you struggle with the trust aspect, ask yourself why and be honest with yourself (that is harder than people think). Is it really that person, or is there something within yourself that is unable to release that level of control? Micromanagement creates a toxic environment that drives the best employees away. It portrays a complete lack of trust in the other person’s capability.
Share decision-making. It encourages others to think and contemplate alternatives. It shows people that their voice and thoughts matter. How do you feel when someone completely disregards your input? I’m going to go out on a limb and say not good.
Support and encourage professional and personal growth. When we support others, they support us in return. This also helps with mental wellbeing. Humans are generally social creatures. We share energies (check out the HeartMath Institute). Check in on the people you are leading. Ask them how they are doing on a personal level. They don’t have to go into details if they want to, just let them know that you are there to help them and that you care about their mental wellbeing.
Even more standards include open channels of communication, organization, and scheduling. If you’re not open to communicating, how can you ever expect to know what is really happening? Organizing your time today is no different than yesterday. Same with scheduling; making that calendar and sticking to it; ensuring meetings don’t clash; clocking out for the day…
How much of this post was applicable before the virtual work push? Were you effectively leading then? Want to know more on how to develop your leadership skills to be more effective with your own time, as well as your teams?
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