Remote Working and Compassionate Leadership

Some examples of how you can be a genuinely compassionate leader in the age of remote working.

As a business owner or a leader within the company, it's your duty to show employees how remote working can be just as efficient, productive and rewarding as the traditional setup, if not more so.

But leadership isn't all about productivity and output, as it also needs to take into account how your employees feel within their roles. It's about helping them to combine empowerment with accountability, flexibility with structure, and a remote office with the social factors of being part of a team.

Below are some examples of how you can be a genuinely compassionate leader in the age of remote working.

First, take a look in the mirror

We mean this both literally and figuratively.

Taking a look in an actual mirror can be quite eye-opening, especially when you consider how you come across as a boss.

Do you look like the kind of person who can be asked questions without a rolling of the eyes? Do you have an approachable air about you or will you scare off the newbies the moment your video meeting begins?

It's not a case of transforming your look, but being aware of your physical manner is an excellent start to improving your leadership skills.

Next, it's time for some self-reflection. You don't need the mirror for this, just an active memory and an honest approach.

Think back to times when you didn't manage an enquiry or situation very well - maybe you were a little short, didn't give it the attention it deserved, seemed a bit condescending or even flew off the handle.

Recognising these mistakes and learning from them is a central part of becoming a more compassionate leader.

Consider your language

What you say and the way in which you say it can make a huge difference to how effectively you lead.

Take these two very similar sentences as an example:

  • "You are going to get it done on time, aren't you?"
  • "Do you have everything you need to get it done on time?"

The first comes across as a little threatening and more of a demand than a question, whereas the second is a genuine offer of support. Here's another one:

  • "Is this progress report the best you can do?"
  • "Let's have a think about ways to make your next progress report even better."

Again, both are pointing out that the employee's progress report wasn't quite up to scratch, yet the first is accusatory and the second is suggesting valuable collaboration.

Likewise, your tone of voice makes a big difference, not to mention other noises that can cause a member of staff to feel uncomfortable such as groans, sighs and tuts.

Communicate with respect and kindness and you'll always get the best results from your people.

Be yourself

Just because you're the head honcho doesn't mean you're not a human being.

Maybe you're a Manchester United supporter or love Great British Bake Off, perhaps you're a Terry Pratchett fan or love to spend your weekends gardening with your kids.

You're allowed to talk about these things with your staff and this glimpse into who you are as an individual can be highly constructive.

Being authentic and showing your true self will make staff feel more comfortable around you and help to strengthen the relationship.

In turn this helps to open up valuable conversations, build a culture of trust, and knock down any communication barriers that are preventing your staff from unleashing their full potential.

Some staff may not be as confident as you when it comes to verbalising ideas, so start off by lightening the mood with some friendly chatter and they'll become much more likely to contribute valuable input.

Encourage video calls

It can be very easy for some of your quieter members of staff to fall off the radar when working remotely.

Unlike in commercial premises where everyone is together, working from home gives shy people a much greater ability to hide in the background.

This doesn't mean they're not working hard (they might be working harder than ever), though maintaining a sense of connection and inclusion is very important too.

The key is to find a balance of communication styles - sometimes an instant message or email will be absolutely fine, but you should also be talking to each employee through virtual face-to-face sessions as well.

This is where video conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom come in, as being able to see each other helps to maintain and reinforce the bond you have with your staff.

Always be supportive

Making mistakes is perfectly natural and happens to us all.

The important thing is to create a psychologically supportive company culture where errors are addressed, discussed, forgiven and learned from.

Remember that mistakes go hand in hand with innovation, creativity and continuous improvement.

A business that never makes mistakes sounds great in theory, yet it actually means a stagnant company that will fall behind its competitors very quickly.

Switch to hosted desktops

Be an effective leader by giving your staff everything they need to work remotely with confidence. To find out more about hosted desktops, call our team on 01482 751133 or email hello@gocloud.co.uk.

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This checklist will help you:

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Become a 'compassionate leader'
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Improve your team's communication
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Increase productivity whilst home working
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