The roles of the modern manager have changed over the last few years in line with modern technology and work attitudes, but the Covid-19 pandemic has meant additional skills are now required.
These must-have managerial skills have altered to account for changes in working habits, increased work-related stress, diversity and inclusion, and flexible leadership roles.
The following skills will be more relevant than ever over the coming years and will be high on the list for employers, no matter the industry or leadership level.
Working Remotely – Keeping Yourself and your Team Engaged
Covid-19 has led to the closure of many offices around the world with employees (and clients) now predominantly working from home.
This can lead to problems with keeping people motivated and engaged, especially when there are new distractions.
Working with tools such as, Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom have become essential for team meetings, resolving issues, and working on collaborative projects, so being confident and assured while using these tools is vital.
Technology has moved to keep up with remote working, and we have to move with it.
Collective projects might only be facilitated through use of tools such as, Google Docs and maintaining an overseeing eye on projects is essential.
Effectively managing teams working remotely is helped by the following:
• Openness – talk to your team about new expectations, listen to their concerns and support their objectives. Touch base with them as frequently as possible but try not to micromanage.
• Emotional Intelligence – understand that things are going to be more difficult when working remotely, be empathic, understanding and reassuring. Put yourself in their shoes and offer support and structure when possible.
• Organization – lead by example and set regular times for check-ins, keep up-to-date with work targets for employees and monitor results.
• Flexibility – be conscious that not all employees are able to work regular hours due to pressures of working from home. They might be sharing an office space in a spare bedroom with a teenager completing school work at home, or have an elderly relative living with them, so allow team members some flexibility with working patterns and try to fit in with these.
• Appreciation – a little appreciation goes a long way, so remember to thank your team for their efforts, especially if they have struggled with other issues along the way. Feeling appreciated is a great motivator!
• Patience – be patient, considerate and kind. We don’t always know what others are going through (especially when we don’t see them in person) so show patience when things don’t go as planned or a small problem arises. Focus on the bigger picture – and offer support, not ultimatums.
Multicultural teams are the norm in many firms so managers must learn to understand different cultures, working attitudes and individuals.
The modern manager must learn to work effectively with people from different backgrounds, find common ground for team building and understand how to improve working methods for all involved.
Diversity and inclusion are essential in modern firms and encourage new perspectives, attitudes and successes.
Modern managers must understand the importance of cultural awareness and intelligence, know how to communicate effectively within a multicultural team, and be adaptable and open to different attitudes.
A sense of community has become more vital since the Covid-19 pandemic and support networks can be found at home, at work or in the wider community.
A manager that encourages a sense of community through team building, and inspires their team to get to know one another, will find improved performance, productivity, resilience and communication are the rewards.
Team building has become more difficult with remote working but conversely it is more vital than ever.
The following are useful tips for team building remotely:
• Online Quizzes – try a live streamed quiz for your employees and encourage small, interchangeable teams so that everyone has the opportunity to ‘team up’ with everyone else
• Virtual coffee breaks – are great (especially when scheduled at the same time each day so people can check in when they feel the need to connect with others) as they offer a time where employees can relax with each other, chat about topics other than work and actually ‘see’ others if the coffee breaks use video calls. This will support mental health and improve communication
• Set challenges – offer a friendly challenge each week to all your team and encourage a vote for best effort. Topics might include, bake a cake, wear blue for the day, or who can walk the most steps in a week. Consider little treats for the winners which can be posted or emailed.
• Start a ‘good news’ conversation email – create a virtual space where colleagues can share good news with each to help promote positivity and sharing
• Recognize good work/friendliness/effort – reward positive work, helpfulness, kindness or team members that go the extra mile. This can be done publicly (in the context of the whole team) or individually
• Share the end of the week – the last day of the working week was traditionally a time for closure over a get together outside of the office. This is not possible at present but it doesn’t mean it can t be done virtually. Pick a time that suits the majority and host an ‘after work get together’ to finish the week and celebrate successes
It is more important than ever that managers and those in leadership roles are able to understand their team’s needs and offer effective solutions to new problems.
Effective communication and trust between managers and their team can be developed using the above techniques and will ensure that you can lead your team to success.
For information on courses designed to improve cultural awareness, team building and engagement skills, please contact the Creative Word Training team here, or check out our extensive range of soft skills courses here.