A special edition on Leadership Skills written by Engagedly’s President and Co-Founder Srikant Chellappa.
COVID-19 changed many employees’ interests and overall perspectives on work. Some of them will be eager to return to the office, while others will prefer to work from home to avoid interruptions and time wasting commutes. Transforming your workplace to accommodate their needs is great, but you also need to enhance your leadership skills because they will also help your team stay engaged. Here are a few skills to consider:
Working from home may cause people to feel excluded from business decisions. Frequently communicating with your team by making weekly or daily updates to your company’s operations and working policies can ensure they are still informed about what’s going on even if they are not in the office. As more alignment and collaboration between people occur, transparent communication will be especially important to make sure both remote and in-person teams are aware about the tasks that need to be completed.
In addition to communicating more often, you also need to invest in the wellbeing of your employees. Returning to the office can be distracting if people got used to working alone. Offering wellness programming like yoga, meditation, or coaching can help them take their minds off those distractions as they readjust to working around other people.
Appreciation and Recognition
Being more appreciative and acknowledging your employees for their work. Doing it publicly using a platform like Engagedly (I am biased here), can be highly motivating. Employers who do not express value for their employees will experience a high turnover rate. Now that businesses are starting to hire again and willing to allow remote work, it will be easier for employees to quit their jobs if their managers fail to recognize them for their accomplishments.
It will take a long time before things start to feel normal again; people will still feel uncomfortable in crowded spaces and thus opt for a hybrid work environment, while many may continue to work remote. Being flexible not only means allowing people who feel most comfortable working from home to do so, but it also means giving them the resources to complete tasks if they need it. For instance, if they need a noise cancelling headset at home or need more time to work on an assignment because they were occupied with taking care of their children, you must be willing to provide them with those requests so they have the resources to be successful at their work.
If there is one important lesson that emerged from this pandemic, its how to be more human-centered. Many articles about returning to the office post COVID-19 focus on transforming the physical structure of the workplace but very few discuss why leaders also need to transform their leadership styles to help employees reintegrate into this new setting.
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