Having to suddenly deal with managing remotely has challenged many! Working through a pandemic and its economic aftermath creates new needs for leaders and teams. Are you now cashing in the pre-COVID trust you built in your business?
It really depends on how well you built a culture of trust pre-COVID. If you invested wisely, you will now be reaping the benefits during the current pandemic.
In fact having a healthy culture of trust is like putting money in the bank, waiting for that rainy day!
Managing Remotely: Performance, Confidence And Trust
Are you one of 40% of managers who have expressed low self-confidence in their ability to manage workers remotely? This stat comes from a Harvard Business Review “Trusted or Tethered” survey of over 200 managers.
Helen Trinca, Managing Editor at The Australian, has published an article about “Why managers need to trust not tether”. (Subscribers to The Australian can read the full article). In it she states that many managers had negative views about remote workers’ performance, with 38% saying remote workers usually performed worse than those who worked in an office.
Recently, I worked with a manufacturing client where there were similar issues around trust between 2 of the leading engineers. This was hampering productivity, staff engagement and innovation. In turn this led to rework, errors and late delivery of product. And they were not even in the context of managing remotely! Imagine if they had had to adapt!
In the background, the main issue was trust, or lack of it.
Without trust, a manager would become one of those 38% saying that remote workers underperform.
You’re in charge, so why don’t you feel as if you are in control of your remote workers?
This statement delineates LEADERS from managers. You lead people but you manage tasks. No-one wants to be a ‘task’ to be ‘managed’ – someone controlled and micromanaged. We want appreciation for our ideas, input and autonomy. In other words, we want to be trusted.
How To Start Rebuilding Trust
“Houston, we have a problem!” So, where do you start if you need to rebuild trust?
According to Helen Trinca, there are 3 areas:
- Start High.
The managers who struggle with leading remote workers tend to have a low job autonomy themselves and excessively controlling bosses.
- Devolve Autonomy.
Managers need to learn new skills of delegation and empowerment to provide their workers with greater control over their work methods and the time of their work, which turn promotes motivation, health and performance.
- Autonomy doesn’t mean less talking.
Indeed frequent and regular communication are even more important when employees have autonomy – ‘check in’ rather than ‘check up’!
Good leadership builds such cultures that inspire, motivate and engage. Good leadership gets the brains out of the car park and into your business. So good leadership ensures people working remotely are focussed, productive and value-adding.
After working with my manufacturing client, trust was rebuilt between the key leaders. The result was less errors, less rework and a major lift in confidence moving forward as a team.
So, What Do You Want: A Trusted Or Tethered Team?
You may be making it harder for your business to thrive through the economic aftermath of COVID-19.
If you feel you are constantly ‘tethering’ your team and wanting more to build a productive culture of ‘trust’, chat to us at Bridgeworks.