A Leader’s Real Work

It’s Monday again, so I settle into my new “office” situation at home, look at my calendar and inbox for the day, and feel the anxiety climbing. There are still virtual piles of unread emails, I have a couple follow up projects to complete for administration, and my calendar is filled with zoom meetings with my team.

As a “get-it-done” type person my anxiety immediately asks, “Do you really need to spend so much time with your team when there was so much “real” work to get done?”

As tempting as that thought is, the experience over the past two weeks has taught me that way of thinking is a fallacy. At the risk of being perceived as yelling, THE REAL WORK IS YOUR TEAM.

If you aren’t spending intentional time daily interacting and being “with” your team, then you aren’t being your best leader. Without your team your area of responsibility doesn’t exist (at least not well), so pouring into your team should be your first and most important goal each day.

A leader who successfully leads their remote team will look at their daily calendar and see at least one third of their time dedicated to interacting with their team.

Why is this important? Think about it, your team usually has culture cues provided them over the course of the day via interaction with you and their colleagues, and also physical proximity provides the ability to overhear conversations and see interactions that set and reinforce office norms. This has been reduced to the number of times you interact with your team in a day (preferably visually and non-verbally).

Written communication loses most of its flavor by the time it has left your mind and been typed through your fingers, therefore unless you’re intentional about non-verbal communication, working remotely breaks down the office culture, not to mention increases loneliness and unhappiness for individuals who thrive on interaction.

It is up to you as the leader to consistently bring people together in an environment that supports full communication to maintain the desired culture while ensuring your people feel connected despite being relegated to the walls of their home.

So, what does your Monday calendar look like?

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