The framework conditions of leadership are changing fundamentally. What you as manager should keep in mind when leading employees who are in the home office.

New rules for new framework conditions

The current situation is turning everyday life upside down – privately and professionally. And ‘suddenly’ both are mixed up. The concern about a total dissolution of boundaries through digitalisation has been hotly debated so far. Now it is reality. The changeover to digital media must succeed quickly. Teams need orientation right now and many employees need support in coping with their everyday life. Often they have children and other family members to look after ‘on the side’. In short: new rules for working together are needed. What is lost when leading at a distance are personal meetings. Coordinating ‘for a moment’ or exchanging information at the coffee machine is simply not possible at the moment. The spatial distance automatically reduces the frequency of contact. There is the risk that individual team members feel isolated or isolate themselves. And even if you have already used digital media intensively: Coordination and decision-making processes are still subject to the risk of misunderstandings and bad moods.

The most burning questions of managers when leading at a distance

Especially when managers are confronted with the challenge of ‘virtual leadership’ more or less unprepared, they ask themselves the following questions:

  • What can I do to establish commitment?
  • What options do I have to keep an eye on the performance / performance of my team members?
  • How do I remain ‘visible’ in my role as a leader?

An admittedly far too simple answer would be: keep everything that has gone well so far, just by using digital media. In our experience, successful cooperation at a distance requires much greater mutual trust. This includes letting go of tightly knit control mechanisms and the tendency towards micro-management. Here is an interesting link to the topic ‘letting go’ and the parameters and framework conditions published by Tesla: Tesla Anti-Handbook Handbook

Investing in sustainable relationships

In the current situation, what is more than ever worthwhile when writing e-mails and holding video conferences: to pay attention to the way of communication. What can be ‘ironed out’ in personal contact can develop a completely different and undesirable dynamic in virtual leadership. Yes, e-mails are useful. But at the same time – and this is certainly not a new insight – they always contain fuel for misunderstandings and conflicts.
Especially in the current highly unsettling situation, it helps everyone involved if managers focus on the meeting and feedback culture. That means very concretely:

  • Clearly delegate: what has to be done by when – collect intermediate results – if possible, define ‘key figures’.
  • Coordinate regular meeting times: who transmits what via which channel and when.
  • Introduce and adhere to rules for virtual meetings.

If you would like to delve deeper into the topic, register for our webinar “Leading employees in the home office”. Or simply give us a call.
You will find further topics for further training of executives in our flow academy. As manager, think of yourself especially in such tough times. Get an idea of your strengths. Or take a short break in the current situation to realign your inner compass if necessary. We also offer you a variant for this via online video feedback.

We at flow consulting are still available for you and are at your side with advice and support. Let us stay in touch!

Gabriele Möllenkamp

webinar program: Leading employees in the home office

online feedback: Utilizing your own potential

picture: flow consulting