How would you rate your Virtual Intelligence leading your team?

Virtual Intelligence Within A Remote Workforce showed us that despite the challenges of leading a remote workforce, there are many advantages to work remotely. Therefore, we need to change our fixed mindset, recognize these advantages and not be naïve as to how they can help our team become more productive, efficient, and happier. 

Although some are “zoomed out”, only 7% of remote workers desire going back to the office full-time. There are far more advantages to leading a team with a hybrid model. 

The challenges of on-boarding, staying connected, and having access to everyone on the team are far outweighed by the advantages to your remote workforce.

1. The first advantage to working remotely is the ability to have flexibility in where you live.

If organizations continue to allow the option of working remotely, employees can choose to move where there is a lower cost of living, better weather, or perhaps more family members close to them. This can equate to a happier, healthier employee and possibly reduce your costs. Some companies are offering their employees the option of moving elsewhere and adjusting their pay lower to correlate with the cost of living. Whether Adaptability® is a top strength or not, you can see how all of your team can enjoy flexibility.

2. The second advantage to offering virtual work is increased productivity.

Those with the Achiever® strength will appreciate this! Think about it–working remotely means they can work in more relaxed clothing to represent who they are.  They aren’t fighting traffic, filling up the gas tank, juggling dropping off the kids earlier at the babysitter, etc. Buying back time and creating your ideal work week means you have a happier, more engaged employee who can increase productivity. Research shows most people work more hours when working from home than they do at the office.

Several of my clients have increased their productivity, creating new innovative products, and multiplying results with record revenues even during the pandemic. If your strength is a Maximizer®, you’ll find yourself cheering over this as your team maximizes their productivity beyond what you could believe possible.

3. Finally, working remotely buys back time for better well-being. 

Employees can take breaks to eat lunch with their spouse, pick up the kids, or go to the gym. And, let’s not forget they are not fighting traffic for several hours per day which keeps their stress levels and blood pressure lower. My wife has leveraged her Discipline® strength to lose 49 pounds to be the most physically fit she has ever been with an added bonus to me–working out with her daily has empowered me to lose 15 pounds and go down to my college waist size of 32.

While these are not an exhaustive list of advantages to a remote or partially-remote workforce, these top three reasons are motivating enough that companies are taking note. More and more corporations are allowing their employees to choose a flexible work schedule with a limited amount of time in the office or going totally remote. 

As a leader of a remote or hybrid workforce, changing the way you lead, connect, and engage (what I call Virtual Intelligence) can exponentially increase the advantages of working remotely.

What advantages do you see by working remotely? What are some of your success stories? Please comment below.

Would you like to lead your team with greater Virtual Intelligence according to their strengths? Click here to find out more.

 

What are your primary roles as you lead your virtual team? How would your team express how they want you to lead them?

Leading and managing a remote workforce requires different skills and a different implementation of your current skills and strengths to be equally as effective with a virtual staff.

What I’ve been teaching with business leaders and organizations are the 3 Roles of Leading with Virtual Intelligence: communication, coaching, and collaboration. Let’s dive in and see how to use our strengths within the context of these roles.

1. Communicator

Whether Communication® is one of your top strengths or not, having a virtual team creates a demand to become a better communicator. Remember communication is verbal with tone and voice fluctuation, non-verbal with eye contact, hand gestures, and proximity. Now there is another element of technology involved in our communication. Video, poor WiFi connection, speaker and mute problems, texting, slacking, which can distort and complicate virtual communication cues. 

Which of your top 10 strengths will you be intentional with for both formal and informal moments of interacting with your team? 

Score yourself on a scale of 1 (low) – 4 (high) on each of the communication skills below. 

Check in formally and informally with my team regularly?
Make expectations specific and clear?
I use all virtual communications modes available to me effectively? 
Self aware of my tone, inflection, facial expressions, eye contact, and pacing? 
Focus intently without multi-tasking while communicating?
Summarize content, speak concisely, and clearly?
Listen deeply for patterns, unspoken concerns, and underlying meaning?
Consider my words, with the strengths, values, and culture of my receiver?


2. Coach

Although you might not be a professional coach with a designation after your name, you are the team leader, or coach, of your remote team. Being yourself and relying on your top strengths can help you coach your team, and enable them to level up, bringing their “A game” to the table.

Again score yourself on a scale of 1-4 on the items below related to skills in coaching. 

Ask open-ended, powerful questions versus bossing with command and control?
Avoid defensiveness when my ideas are challenged or not agreed with?
Focus on the process of personal development as well as performance results?
Empower ownership, goal development, action planning, and accountability?
Use strengths-based approaches and questions rather than focus on weaknesses? 

If you’re a Relator®, model authentic coaching conversations. If you’re a Maximizer®, ask permission to share your insights to polish. If you have high Positivity®, encourage them in their skills and recognize them for a job well done. If Discipline® is your strength, be willing to guide, and share resources to establish routines that help others become more productive.

Equally as important is your role of connecting your team to each other. 

3. Collaborator 

Collaborating with a remote workforce can be challenging; the sense of camaraderie and connection are much harder. However, there are many tech tools and coaching skills that make collaboration possible. And, because your team is experiencing better work-life balance, they can be more apt to collaborate and connect as themselves, rather than solely in their professional role.

Rate yourself on the scale of 1-4 on the collaboration skills below. 

Ask the team to share strengths-based recognition in team meetings?
Use ice-breakers in team meetings to get to know one another more deeply?
Make time for peer accountability meetings?
Build deeper trust and interdependence with strengths-based projects?
Create opportunities for off-site team building experiences? 

Why not invite one of your team members with high WOO® to help model social connection or someone with Connectedness® to build more collaboration. 

Which of these 3 roles do you need to improve the most? Please share your take away’s below.  

If you’re challenged to communicate virtually, coach virtually, or inspire virtual collaboration, you can find resources here that will equip you to lead your virtual team. 

 

How effective are you leading your team with virtual intelligence?

Non-essential businesses have worked from home for longer than we expected. In the Pandemic from March 2020 to May 2020 work from home spiked from 31% to 65% working remotely. That’s some 100 million U.S. workers. Because of this, we have adapted to being a remote workforce.

In a survey of more than 30,000 employees half of them stated that their desire is to have a hybrid schedule–working at home sometimes, and being able to report to the office. And Gallup reports that 55% of managers say they will continue with remote work after the Pandemic. 

Over 1/2 of the workforce say they prefer working from home. This adaptation will bring with it advantages, challenges, and a greater need for emotional intelligence and what I’m calling Virtual Intelligence. 

As with everything in the workplace–and life–there are challenges. Let’s look at 3 factors of leading with Virtual Intelligence below. 

First, as a leader, create a work at home success factors checklist. You might even do an office audit together. 

From my 10+ years work at home experience as a professional coach and trainer here’s several success factors I recommend.

1. Create a dedicated office space if possible with a door for privacy, security, and a quiet space with natural lighting. 

2. Arrange for childcare, pet care, and in my situation when the grandkids are visiting. This may require support from others. 

3. Write out your ideal work-life calendar. When will you wake up, have morning routine, breakfast, working out, breaks, lunch, work hours, and end of day rituals. 

4. Dress for success. Yes take your shower, ladies put your makeup on, and enjoy dressing in a way that is comfortable, and produces a positive productive mindset. 

5. Design your office with mind ergonomics. Proper lighting, best video camera, computer proximity, uncluttered desk, motivational Feng shui, and my favorite – stand up desk.  

Leaders and managers with the strength of Arranger® can really help their teams set up a successful work at home environment.

What else would you place on the work at home success factors checklist? Please share your comments below. 

Second, you need to clarify work at home expectations with your team.

Will job requirements and duties be the same? Will you require attendance to scheduled 1:1’s and team huddles? When and how will you interact with your team? Will you require or strongly suggest the use of video for meetings.

By the way, I highly recommend that you set the expectation that your team use video especially for team meetings. Your people will need to practice being on camera so that they can be more confident in communication skills. How will you hold your team accountable for productivity? 

Leaders and managers with the strength of Focus® can really help their team clarify expectations and priorities. 

Finally, virtual intelligence requires emotional intelligence.

Being self-aware recognizing your own emotions, needs, and struggles. How can you model healthy well-being by putting your oxygen mask on first. Show your team with confident vulnerability how to be a human being as well as human doing.

Emotional intelligence also requires being able to have empathy for your team. That means recognizing their emotions, needs, and challenges. Being open and flexible to their uncertainties.  Also being proactive to help your team manage their mental health, their relationships, and providing resources.

Many are “zoomed out” and there are distractions, background noises, and the unknowns when working from home. As the leader it is your responsibility to design and deliver engaging training sessions that overcome the distractions. Or you can invite me to do some workplace training for you and your team. Download my workplace training brochure here. 

Those with the Relator® strength may miss stopping by someone’s desk to check in with them and chat briefly. With a remote workforce, that becomes impossible. It’s important to be intentional in connecting with virtual intelligence. Remote workers have cited feeling isolated and disconnected from their co-workers. However, there are tools you can use and ways you can be intentional so no one is left feeling isolated.

As a leader this requires increased virtual intelligence to lead, manage, and develop your team.

While these challenges demand change and innovation, there are also advantages. We’ll talk more about that in our next blog.

If you’re ready to refine your virtual intelligence schedule your free Ask Brent Anything call.