How To Lead Your Teams Virtually
I know that a lot of you are having to lead your teams virtually these days and this is a whole new phenomenon for you. I know that this is not easy and if you are new to it, it certainly can be quite challenging.
I’ve received several texts that said, Hey, it would be really great if you could show us the tools that you use, the systems, the communication rhythms, and what factors we really need to be paying attention to the most to keep our teams engaged and to keep them actually productive during these times leading a virtual team.
I want to give you a lot of different ideas for how to best lead your team from home given the dynamic of now having to get your work and recruiting done from home with your family around. I am going to share 20 more general tips in Dan Tudor’s newsletter on Tuesday morning.
The first thing I will say is don’t over complicate things. Sometimes the more complicated the system, the less useful that is.
Systems to use-
Zoom for virtual meetings. It is super simple to set this up and you can use a free version of it for up to 40 minutes.
Hopefully your school has a cloud-based file storage system or you are using so you can share all of your documents. Google drive is a great place to put all your shared documents if you have gmail. Or even Evernote or dropbox are great places to share files.
I know of some coaches that have started to use Asana or Trello for project management. They can assign tasks and keep track of what is coming up.
How many days a week do you need to meet as a group? My article last week was about running a successful virtual meeting in case you missed it.
I would suggest you for sure meet Monday morning and Friday afternoon to set priorities and important metrics to be focused on and working towards that week. On Monday, plan 30 minutes to do a calendar review of what’s coming up, what are the priorities. What are we putting out to the recruits you are after? What does everybody need to be aware of? Then on Friday, review where you may have won or lost based on your priorities and metrics you were trying to hit for the week.
You could set up a daily virtual coworking meetings that’ll help you plug-in, get focused and get your important work done. Start by sharing what you’ll each be working on… then set a timer and put on some music so you can get in some focused work. After that, come back together and share updates!
Now another practice I suggest you start if you haven’t already is set up a staff huddle for personal development. Where in your week could you dedicate an hour or 90 minutes to a skill that will make you a better leader, coach, or recruiter? Yes, you and your staff are all remote. But this is no time to take a break from getting better as a staff.
Keep it fun
What could you do to keep your people interested, engaged, and having fun?
It’s really easy to keep shooting out emails left and right. Could you take an extra second to make it a lot more fun? You could use emojis or gifs?
Could you create an important milestones board with different categories-kids birthdays, anniversaries, or whatever other different categories you can think of between you and your staff to keep things fun and get to know each other a little better.
How could you gamify work? Create a point system for things or make things competitive while you are at home? I know of a staff that has created a steps competition to encourage them to get outside and working out and there is a lot of smack talking going on.
Have staff happy hours. I have found over the years that some of the best ideas come when you are relaxed, laughing, and have had a few drinks.
What can you be doing right now to continue to keep more people’s minds on what’s positive, what’s hopeful, and on what’s aspirational rather than the constant day deluge of the negative.
I highly recommend (if it is possible, I know it is really hard with kids), that you isolate yourself when you are trying to get work done. , Remove yourself from distractions. Find a spare bedroom or wherever you can where you’re not in the open environment.
If you’re in an open environment and you are available visually to your kids or to your spouse, you are going to be constantly interrupted. Even if work is on the other side of a door, you have to be away and not visually and constantly reminding everybody that just one little shout or one little touch and you’re immediately available and distracted. So you want to find isolation, close the door, and have some sort of signal system that when you’re in a head down not to be disturbed mode.
Put a sign on the door that says, I’m in a work session, please don’t disturb. Will be out soon and will have more fun later.
The key here is identify that this is temporary. “Kids, this is what we are doing. I need no distractions or no disturbing for an hour or 90 minutes.” And then emerge and deal with what needs to be dealt with and then close the door again, put your head down and get to work.
Key Tip: You’ve got to create these new rules and boundaries and you have to enroll your family. Why? Why can’t they talk to you and what’s in it for them? Remember, children are just nothing but little narcissists. It’s all about them. They don’t give a crap about you, what you’re doing, what you care about. It’s all about them. So, there’s got to be a what’s in it for them? If they do this, what can they gain? What’s the reward?
Set up 3-4 hour to hour and a half blocks where you are focused on finishing your vital priorities.
Use a clock to set the time for how long you are going to be working and focused on 1 project without distracting yourself. You will find that you will distract yourself more than your kids or anything in your outside environment.
Avoid sending text messages to your team or to recruits first thing in the morning. I know that you are checking off something on your to-do list, but the constant responses from them is a huge distraction. Get 1-2 hours of focused vital work done, and then send the text. Try it, it makes a huge difference.
Your morning routine is essential to kickstart correctly. How you begin and how you end day can play a big part in how successful you are working from home. There should be a ritual and methodology to how you begin your day and how you end your day. I always end my day by identifying my top 6 most vital priorities for the day following. And then for my most important priority, I put it on a sticky note so I keep it front and center.
Before I leave work for the day, I’ve opened the document or whatever it is that’s going to be my most important vital priority for tomorrow. I begin it so that when I get to my desk first thing in the morning, the only thing I need to do is turn on my computer and the sentence has already been started so I can immediately engage in it. When I don’t do this I find myself turning on my computer, opening up a tab, and all of a sudden I start thinking, oh, I should go check my email first, or I should go check on my social posts. You know what I’m saying? So, find a way to get yourself started quickly.
Try to operate as if you are not working from home, that you are working in a work environment.
If you weren’t at home, you couldn’t stop working when the doorbell rings and they’d have to leave the package at the door.
If you weren’t at home, you couldn’t do your laundry.
Don’t let friends stop by virtually or by phone. You’re not home. You’re working.
Do not allow yourself to operate as if you are home, because you will slip into all those other personal obligations.
Set boundaries between work and home
One of the hardest parts about working home is that you can always be working and then you’ll find that it is burning you out. If you are always trying to work, you create this blur between home life and work life, personal life and professional life, spouses and workmates. You don’t want to create that blur. You want to have hard boundaries on both sides. Meaning when we’re working, we are not available personally. And when we are in our personal time, we’re not available for work. When you’re working, you’re working. When you’re not working, you’re not working.
Stay safe and healthy!
P.S. If you found this helpful, please share it with your coaching friends. I want to help eliminate as much coaching office chaos for as many coaches I can this year. If I can save you 1-2 hours a day and get you so you don’t have to bring as much work home with you (besides recruiting calls), you will have more time and energy to spend with your families, friends, and on your hobbies. Happier and more productive coaches have happier and more productive teams!
P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways that I can help you double your results while working less in 2020.
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