The significant challenge of working and leading remotely has been enforced on us quickly, with very little warning and preparation, and with no known end state. It’s taken many by surprise and demanded a lot from leaders and managers at all levels, across all businesses. In an attempt to acclimatize to this new way of working, we have had to learn to adapt our style, consider our impact and try to understand what our people now need from us….as well as try to manage ourselves differently and deal with isolation personally.

Performance First has now been helping develop and support individuals, leaders and teams for 20 years. However, we as a business have never seen something shake-up the way people lead and manage more than what we have all been experiencing these past few months.

“The need for solid, well-considered and thoughtful leadership is never more apparent than it is right now”

Leading through change and through a crisis - as we are now - requires us all to alter in a number of ways. But as this change to the way we work and lead is prolonged, and it seems as though we will see longer term adjustment to expectations of leaders, we now need to reflect a bit more, and challenge ourselves, on what’s required of us, and how we can prepare ourselves for this.

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There are many operating styles that make up a rounded approach to leading.  This period of remote leading is highlighting the requirement for many of the ‘softer’ methods such as Coaching, Influencing, a focus of Emotional Intelligence and, it will be no surprise to many, Resilience.

Alongside questioning business security and longevity, we are also, rightly, contemplating our own personal function and purpose, and critically, how we can modify our leadership approach:

·       How can we continue our leadership presence, virtually?

·       How can we adjust to new technology use and digital connectivity?

·       How can we be authentic to ourselves, and others, and be visible as a leader?

·       How can we provide clear and unambiguous direction, and manage performance through outputs and objectives?

·       How can we adjust communication styles to fit virtual leadership and suit distributed teams?

·       How can we engage well, listen (properly and genuinely!) and influence where we need to?

·       How can we deal with challenging conversations, sometimes even conflict, when we’re limited to doing it remotely?

·       How can we reassure, breed confidence and encourage our people?

·       How can we build rapport and trust; and help others to deal with stress, pressure and uncertainty?

·       How can we maintain motivation, celebrate success and simulate previous ‘normal’ office activity?

·       How can we keep your people and teams connected, improve our levels of awareness and develop more empathy, compassion and consideration?

·       How can you manage and motivate ourselves to be the best we can be?

All of these questions are relevant, and they are not just relevant for this current situation. We as leaders should be asking these of ourselves frequently anyway, but this new environment has amplified the need to assess how we can be the best leaders that our people need us to be, right now.

There are many ways to help with this. The first is to remember that you are not alone.  Many many others are going through exactly the same, so seek to learn, discuss and reflect with your peers and friends.

The second is to seek support, as any professional leader should, in the form of Coaching. We cannot advocate enough the impact this can have on helping to navigate through uncertain times.

"Remember that you are not alone.  Many many others are going through exactly the same [experience] "

Coupled with this we have always encouraged real-time, honest and actionable feedback. We do this through a unique Leadership360 feedback tool, which invites responses from up to 5 different groups, with questions tailored for the remote working environment. This provides excellent insight about how leaders are doing right now, and how they can adapt to the new challenges we’re all facing.

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To support leaders within the Tessellate group of companies during this demanding period, we are offering a heavily discounted Executive Coaching and Feedback package. If you’d like to find out more about how Coaching could help you, or your people, and would like to see how Leadership360 could provide some valuable insight for you, please contact Michael Payne (Managing Director of Performance First Ltd) on Michael.payne@performancefirst.com