Being Visible As a Leader in a Virtual Environment
Today’s best and brightest talent has high expectations for what a workplace environment should be. They expect it to be both dynamic and flexible, which means they also often expect remote work to be an option if not the norm.
This can be difficult for some business leaders to navigate, as virtual work continues to evolve and present new challenges to workplace norms. Strong, effective leadership is essential to facing these challenges.
Being a visible leader in a virtual work environment may take some extra effort and attention, but there are many tools and strategies at your disposal to help you succeed.
Here are a few of the more prominent tips in maintaining visibility as a supportive and engaging leader in a virtual environment.
Stay in contact and build relationships
The biggest hurdle to this is the virtual side of things, as it is difficult to make up for a lack of physical presence.
Still, maintaining regular meetings and check-ins helps promote a sense of normalcy and camaraderie among team members, even when dependent on videoconferencing. Ensuring your people have predictable communication maintains a sense of purpose and accountability.
Being an advocate for team-building and productive individual relationships is another organic way to present yourself as a strong, effective leader. There are many collaborative tools available for hybrid and remote work, such Slack, Google Chat, and Microsoft Teams.
Your organization likely already has one or several in place, but learning how to optimally use all their features is an important step in facilitating better and more regular communication.
Recognize personal and professional achievements
The lack of physical presence within virtual environments also makes it easy for any personal or professional achievements to fall by the wayside and go unmentioned or even entirely unnoticed. It’s important you make a concerted effort to continue celebrating milestones and business victories in a clear and public way.
Ensure employees feel secure and successful, even when isolated at home or working in a less populated workplace. Everyone wants to know their contributions and successes matter – whether professional or otherwise – and in a virtual environment, isolation is sometimes inevitable. Reminding your people they matter is vital to organizational success and team-building in the long term.
Welcome autonomy and manage expectations
The hands-off nature of remote work can result in some business leaders wanting to micromanage from afar to ensure work is progressing as it should and that employees aren’t “taking advantage” of their newfound flexibility. This only serves to burn out team members and have the opposite of the intended impact.
Instead, embrace employee autonomy. Be optimistic about your new dynamic workplace, but don’t promise more than you or others can deliver – and time management is crucial.
Working styles among your team may vary significantly, so learning to understand individual working rhythms and habits will help you manage your own personal expectations while communicating your desires effectively. Provide regular opportunities for employees to offer feedback and feel invested in the success of your organization.
Lead by example
Be patient and consistent in your work and deliverables to your team. Develop processes and procedures if needed and stick to them yourself. Demonstrating a passion for your work is infectious.
Collaborate with experts on your team to solve complex problems and demonstrate a desire to build a stronger team. By delivering strong results, you reinforce your authority and expertise.
Curate content and engage on social media
Seek out thought leaders within your team and make a point to champion their ideas. Find strong voices on LinkedIn or other social media that align with your personal and professional ideals and encourage your people to engage with them, as well.
Not only can doing so encourage professional growth, but it can also position your team as savvy content curators and experts in trending business topics.
Stay up-to-date on trends and news, especially as it pertains to virtual work to ensure your posts remain thoughtful and relevant. Consider developing your own content to promote your business and professional profile, as well.
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