How would you describe your management style? One in which you measure productivity by seeing employees at their desks? Or one of inherent trust, in which you measure productivity by results?
As a leader, it’s important to convey trust among your team. Yet, given today’s new realities, how can you effectively impart trust while ensuring your team is meeting key goals? Revising your key performance indicators (KPIs) in a way that puts the human at the center of all your metrics can be a surefire way to not only ensure goals are being met, but also instill that feeling of trust – even in a remote environment. Here’s where to begin.
Revise your methods of measurement
Many organizations have immature process documentation and measures that rely on needing to see employees to believe they are being productive. This is not an effective approach during a pandemic when teams are working remotely, and employees aren’t seen in an office on a daily basis. It also shows a lack of manager maturity.
Accordingly, many organizations are undertaking efforts to examine and reinvent their processes, which can help managers understand a team's work and help adjust processes for the new hybrid/flex ways of working. Process alone, of course, will not drive managers to change their management styles. They need training to appreciate how to build trust and not fall into the trap of just looking at numbers. In the end, it is a combination of human dimension representing the rules, processes and structures that make the work happen that defines a manager's ability to connect to their team and to the underlying work.
Explore new ways of connecting to your team
In today’s evolving work environment, managers must make extra effort to connect to individuals on their team. They can't just rely on status reports and status meetings to stay connected but complement these traditional methods with additional, and intentional, 1:1 sessions. This doesn't mean that every week is full of endless 30-minute meetings, but frequent connections are a must. These can be virtual taps on the shoulder via an ad-hoc chat or a 15-minute call. Have a 3:1 ratio of casual check in to formal work review, and these check-ins will go far. You will also receive the bonus of needing fewer team meetings that are simple status shares.
Flex your empathy muscle to truly understand individual circumstances
Your team is facing challenges unlike any other time in recent memory. Work and life are colliding like never before, creating unique circumstances that can have real impacts on productivity. Home schooling, living situations, and news overload will impact us differently. Leverage personal connections to get to know your employees so you can better understand individual circumstances. The better you know your team, the more you’ll be able to appreciate these variable challenges and accept corresponding variance in delivery. It's a tough balancing act, but one in which we’re all learning as we move along.
The Bottom Line
Collectively, we’re all doing the best we can to get through unprecedented work and life challenges. Defaulting to a culture of trust, in which you inherently empathize with your team and instill trust every day will go a long way towards encouraging greater productivity among your employees.