Greek Version Απρόσωπη Ηγεσία
It will soon be a year since the words quarantine, cases, online meetings, zoom, e-class entered our daily lives. We have learned to live and function with these words, even if we do not like the situations they unfold. Surely, we would prefer the prior situation, the calm and not the daily alarm, the daily alert. We try to develop our skills with online seminars, to talk and smile in front of our screens without human interaction. I will certainly agree with those who are quick to think that we have no other choice and that fortunately during this time technology supports us in all of this. Real human interaction cannot be surpassed and with it the impact that one can have on others cannot be surpassed. A number of employees who work from home confess that they feel loneliness at work, and since some people feel that way, that alone is a challenge that the respective leadership of a company is called upon to face. Many things are now done online – the question is, could there be an online leadership model? How can the respective leader, team leader, influence, motivate, keep morale and vigor high online? Imagine, therefore, that you are in charge of a team and, within a one or two-hour meeting, you have to engage people to work or act to the best of their abilities, with interest, accountability, efficiency. The landscape has changed and of the changes we are all undergoing, some will remain.
• But what needs to change in such an environment to create a better one?
• What does a leader need to do to deal with the change in employees’ psychology, the “faceless” remote communication in the interest of a better and, at the same time, efficient one?
First of all, we must accept that important skills of a leader, such as accountability, focus on goals, confidence, ability to positively influence others, along with consideration and vision-crafting, remain. What changes is the medium they will use and the manner in which they will attempt to influence them.
One of the most important things they need to understand is that their communication with the team now requires more time and a greater effort. Thus, we so far have changes in the medium, the manner, the time and the effort. Leadership models and influence modes face an important challenge: whether they will apply and with what dynamic. Authoritarian leaders lose much of their influence because of the “faceless” remote communication they now have with their people. In contrast, leaders who immediately embrace change and change their person-centered priorities can gain more ground.
Leadership coaching skills are increasing rapidly as executives need corresponding support, which they will in turn offer to their subordinates. Soft skills in combination with technological equipment can offer support and efficiency. Of course, when I refer to technological equipment, I am referring to a holistic approach to technology and not just what we have learned to use. Therefore, consideration, accountability, the ability to listen to others and motivate them, must be applied in practice. Here are some suggestions:
1. Honest discussion between employers and employees regarding the situation and problems arising from COVID-19.
2. Implementation of employees’ proposals regarding COVID-19.
3. Scheduled meetings with the cameras on. This helps with face-to-face communication.
4. More phone meetings, as well as plain considerate phone calls.
5. Technology used for bonding.
6. Capacity building per individual in accordance with their uniqueness.
7. Emotional and psychological empowerment.
8. Commitment of employees to results based on trust.
In this entire changing environment, a dynamic has emerged that begins or ends in the face of technology. Whether a leader will be able to impart it lies in the increased capacity to perceive what I have mentioned above. Open horizons, creativity, imagination, “breaking” personal boundaries. Theoretical? Perhaps. There are ways and there have always been ways, just as the effort needed to motivate the workforce must be considered a duty and a commitment by anyone leading a team. The return to everyday life will come sooner or later. Team leaders must face their people with trust and consideration in order to continue along the path to profitability together.
Therefore, what a leader needs to look for is the will to transform their abilities, for that little bit extra. To look above the sky.