June 1, 2021

Things Your Team Wants You to Know (But Won’t Say)

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Things Your Team Wants You to Know (But Won’t Say)

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It’s been over a year now since the pandemic turned life as we knew it upside down. If your business used to be in person, then chances are you’ve gotten into the swing of things when it comes to remote work. But today we’re sharing the things your remote team wants you to know, but might not feel comfortable enough to share.

Specifically, your employees may be feeling certain things that they’re simply not expressing because times are tough. They’re grateful to have a job and don’t want to ruffle any feathers. It’s your job as a leader to keep them engaged and get the best out of your team. You can’t do that if you don’t know how they’re feeling. 

What Your Remote Team Wants You to Know

So, here are three things that your team wants you to know (but probably aren’t saying): 

1. Your team wonders how they’re being evaluated.

After furloughs, layoffs, or reduced headcount in any way, employees are now doing their old job plus several other jobs. Because you see them less (or only through Zoom), they’re wondering if you know how hard they’re working. At any point are they going to be acknowledged for this extra effort? Communicating your expectations around workload, as well as how and when they are going to be evaluated is really important right now. Also, if you haven’t looked at your performance review process, you should. Does it still make sense in this remote culture? The same as before? How are you giving your team a chance to share what they’re working on, their wins, and their challenges? 

2. Your team needs help staying motivated and engaged.

They want you to know they’re losing steam and need your help to stay motivated. In order to do this, get clear on the what, when, and how. Know what work needs to get done (deliverables), and what the “ground rules”. Recognize when work is due (deadlines) and what the expectations are for when they need to be “on” or “available”. Also, understand how you expect them to work together and how their specific tasks/projects are connected to the larger whole. Let them know how their performance is being evaluated (like we just talked about) and how they work best (asking them how they work best builds relationships and gives you insight into what they need from you).

Also, goals are good. Create short-term goals, very short-term, even goals for the week, to give them something to move towards, celebrate, and feel accomplished. When you have clear goals, you’re able to allow team members more choice and autonomy on how the work gets done. Shift your focus to the completion of work rather than hours worked.

Lastly, create communications norms. Create ground rules around communication channels (which we use for what and when) to avoid feeling bombarded by technology or “drop-in video conferences” which will exhaust and actively dis-engage your teams.

Use video conferencing whenever possible to allow the team to pick up on non-verbal cues and facial expressions. Start meetings with informal check-ins to promote connection. Ensure you are having regular one-on-ones with employees to connect, problem solve, and offer direction and support.

3. Your team needs time for mindfulness and self-care.

Your team wants you to know that they need your explicit encouragement to take time out for mindfulness and self-care during the day. It may seem obvious to you that if you need to take a break from the screen, it’s totally acceptable to go sit outside and take a mindfulness break, but maybe it’s not obvious to them.

As a remote leader, you need to over communicate with your team. If mindfulness is a priority to you and you want it to be a priority for them (which btw, you should) you need to tell them. 

Here are some ideas to incorporate: 

  • Share the benefits of mindfulness with your team. Mindfulness in the workplace can help your employees think more clearly, reduce stress and improve overall well-being — just to name a few perks.
  • Send calendar invites with reminders to take a mindful moment for gratitude, a walk outside, meditation, or a stretch break.
  • Create a morning routine and evening routine slack channels to share ideas.
  • Offer short grounding meditations at the beginning of staff meetings or all hands meetings.
  • Have leaders share how they incorporate mindfulness into their days to encourage employees at all levels to do the same.

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