The pandemic has changed leadership forever — you want to be good at it?

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By the surge of the new global pandemic, business leaders had to adapt, almost overnight, to new challenges and pressures to make sure their businesses survived and thrived during this challenging times. It became quitter clear that certain qualities are most certainly needed during these times.

Nothing is certain anymore, but what is certain is that flexible work hours are here to stay. Marit Janssen who is the transformation consultant working at ABN AMRO, is exploring new ways companies will adapt to the world post-COVID.

Janssen shared some of his insights at the TNW2020 keynote on Remote Leadership; he went on to focus mainly on the importance of communicating with your team, and facilitating their tasks and motivating them.  It is important to note that the common goal of the company hasn’t changed, it just the context in which we work in that has.

Statistically speaking, 9 out of 10 at ABN AMR feel positive about working remotely, and the majority had expressed a desire to continue working from home at least couple of days per week. The pandemic had a toll at the psychology of employees as well, many research found that employees fear the uncertainty of the future and companies need to facilitate a scenario best suits for them.

Tips on how to adapt to the future of work

Without exception, all businesses were reactive instead of being proactive in the past few months of the pandemic, which is perfectly understandable. But moving forward, there needs to be a certain level of preparation and process in place. Here are some of the tips from Janssen’s keynote.

  1. Maintain transparency

Without working in the same physical space, keeping everyone in the loop will be difficult, however it is important to keep updating your team regularly as they need to be aware of the development within e ach department, it is also crucial to be upfront with your team about your intentions, for example, will the remote work situation will be a long-term thing or it will just be temporary.

  • Trust your team

Working from home in the past few months has certainly challenged much assumption that we had about the productivity being affected. As leaders, you need to trust your team to carry on the task they have been assigned to. You don’t need to micromanage everything.

It is important however to keep the conversation going and make your expectation clear and provide feedback when necessary.

  • Be flexible to your team’s needs

Most employees who have children to other commitments find it hard to commit to the traditional 9 to 5 job while working from home. Leaders needed to loosen their grip and be more flexible with their work schedule and adapt it to suit their employee’s needs and mental wellbeing.

The more trust and empathy your team feels from you as a leader, the more likely they will be motivated and dedicated to their job. You need to be approachable and open to new suggestions from your team to make sure you give them what they need to be productive.

  • Communicate effectively

Finally, communication is key, you need to create a structure with regular meetings to ensure the wellbeing of your team as well as discuss business progress.

At ABN AMRO, research had shown that more than 20% of the employees still feel unsecure about their health and wellbeing. Leadership is more about being supportive than being transactional, it is your job to create the best environment for your team to thrive.

Final thoughts The more you are in touch of your team, the more you can facilitate their work, this includes boosting team spirits when necessary, encouraging healthy work and life balance. Being open and flexible with each team member’s needs will go a long way to create a positive work atmosphere. Always be adaptive to change.

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