Working remotely is not easy, especially for people who are relatively new to it. Distractions and diversions, intrusions and interruptions can make it hard for people to excel. You may find that even an employee who is strong performer at the office is having a difficult time working from home. There are specific things you can do to manage those who are struggling to perform remotely:
Create a trusted dialogue. The culture in some organizations is structured in a way that forbids or discourages complaints and open speech. But to be effective as a leader you have to create relationships with people; they need to know that they can tell you the truth and speak with candor without negative repercussions. The goal is to create communication that is a dialogue built on trust, not a one-sided monologue.
Address the situation head on. My coaching clients sometimes tell me “You said to be empathetic if someone is struggling, so I’m giving them a pass.” My reply: Yes, you need to lead with empathy. But if there’s a problem, failing to address it solves nothing—and creates an additional problem.
Get to the source. You may be making assumptions about why an individual is struggling. But if you don’t ask, you don’t know, and if you don’t know you can’t get to the source of the issue. It could be that processes are too cumbersome, technology is breaking down, or they aren’t getting the information they need. You can’t begin solving the underlying problem until you identify it.
Take accountability first. Before you can expect your employees to take responsibility for their own actions, you—as a leader—must take the first step and set the standard. Accountability starts with you. If there is a systemic or management issue creating a problem, be the first to acknowledge your responsibility. Once you take accountability and make that a clear expectation, it will be easier to move on to finding creative solutions.
Demonstrate empathy. As a leader it is important to check in and have courageous conversations in which people can speak honestly and candidly. In those cases, your job as a leader is not to try to fix things outside your control but to empathize with those who are struggling and acknowledge the difficulties they’re facing. Listen carefully. Resist the temptation to tell them what to do; don’t be overly prescriptive or micromanage. Simply ask them what they need to make things better. It’s part of your job as the leader to make sure those who are struggling have the resources and assistance they need to be successful.
As a leader it is your responsibility to help those you lead—and by helping them you are making it possible for them to contribute their best.
Lead from within: When people are struggling for any reason, it’s up to the leader to help them figure out what it will take for them to succeed.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- How Great Leadership is Generated in Significant Crisis
- How to Lead Your Team When The Future Is Uncertain
- The One Aspect Of Crisis Management That No One Talks About
- How The Best Leaders Are Already Planning Past The Crisis
- How to Engage Employees During Uncertain Times
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
Photo Credit: iStockPhotos
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.