By Jason Rush
There is a new reality that many of us are undertaking: working from home—or as it is now known, “WFH.” Many of us, including myself, have been doing it for years. This is our norm. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is forcing a whole new group of individuals to join us. This is a new challenge for employees as well as their employers. The real challenge for many is not just working from home, but that we are now leading from home.
As entrepreneurs and leaders of our organizations, the ability to “pop over to John’s desk” is gone. Everyone’s favorite, “Hey, you got a minute?”, is not possible. Even just keeping a pulse on the team’s productivity is a challenge.
Are your teams being productive out of fear of losing their jobs in this uncertain environment? Or are you micromanaging to make sure they’re performing up to par? You built your organization by leading your people, not by managing them. You must learn to adapt your leadership skills to this new work environment.
Here are five strategies you can immediately apply with your WFH team so that you can lead from home:
1. Remember your “why”
As an entrepreneur, there was a reason that you started the business. This is your core purpose—it goes beyond profit to the foundation of why you exist as an organization. You need to reconnect with that purpose and stay committed to it; don’t lose sight of it just because of these changing times. If you do, it wasn’t the right one to start with.
As the leader, you must lead by example. If the rest of the team is not living out the core purpose, you might want to look at yourself. Let the team know not only of their continued importance to your company’s survival, but also make sure they see you embody it.
Find new ways to live your core values. What worked in the office might not work with everyone working from home. Core values are the guide rails of how your company delivers on its core purpose. These are more important than ever, so be on the lookout for new ways to uphold them.
2. Keep your focus
This is a great time to commit to mindfulness practices and daily exercise. A morning ritual of meditation and/or breathing exercises will give you the focus you need to start your morning off right. Then, at a minimum, take a couple short walks through your neighborhood every day (if you are allowed to do so). It will help you maintain your energy level from start to finish.
You’ve set up your defensive plays, now focus on the offensive ones. With much of the nation sheltering in place and the stock market taking a beating, most companies have jumped into defensive mode. What do we have to cut? What expenses do we have to reduce? Who is getting laid off? Now what are you going to do?
Embrace change; don’t be paralyzed by fear. What seemed like a great plan in February might not work today.
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