(Mass Appeal) – For you managers, supervisors and business owners out there who now have staff members working from home, this can be a very difficult time to ensure employees are doing what is expected if you’ve never extended your staff the ability to work remotely.
Ken Dolan Del-Vecchio, founder of GreenGate Leadership, offers some very simple advice to those in supervisory positions with a newly remote workforce.
- Some leaders who are unfamiliar with leading dispersed teams are imposing new oversight measures on their staff members, asking them to log:
- Workday start and end times.
- The tasks they are devoting their time to every hour or half-hour.
- Lunch and break start and end times.
- While perhaps well-intended, this is a bad idea because it conveys a lack of trust.
- Those on the receiving end will likely feel resentful.
- They will feel that they are wasting their time filling out a log that has the sole purpose of convincing you that they aren’t shirking.
- Your lack of trust in your staff will diminish their trust in you.
- The predictable result: lessened engagement, lower morale, and less inclination to give discretionary effort, exactly the opposite of what you hoped to achieve.
- Research shows that trusting your team, on the other hand, builds their trust in you. This, in turn, increases morale, engagement, and discretionary effort.
- If you have already implemented such a tracking log:
- Discontinue it.
- Apologize to your staff for launching it.
- Tell them that you did it as a result of your own anxiety about keeping things going and that you’ve realized that you should just trust them instead of trying to monitor their every move.
- Contrary to what you may fear, apologizing in this manner will almost certainly increase your team’s respect and regard for you. We almost always appreciate it when a leader shows vulnerability by apologizing for an error and correcting it.
- It is helpful during this time to provide your staff with access to articles, webinars, and other supportive resources that can help them structure their work setting at home, manage their time, and cope with the stress associated with what’s going on.
- Providing access to these kinds of supports conveys respect for your staff during this time of great change and stress.
- Remember that what matters is performance—results achieved—not activity. You can and should communicate, as always, with your team members regarding what they are achieving, providing regular words of thanks and constructive criticism as warranted.