The Struggle with Virtual Communication
Leadership, on our best day, is a challenging undertaking. Communication is one of the cornerstones of effective leadership but with the challenges we have faced in 2020, this facet has become even more vital for effective leadership.
"If there was ever a time to put to rest the old-fashioned notion of the #idealworker, it’s now. Post-pandemic, let’s resculpt workplace ideals so they reflect people’s lives today—not half a century ago." via @HarvardBiz @JoanCWilliams
With the needed transition to teleworking, the way we communicate changed almost immediately. Our adaptation to virtual meetings and conversations is not without its challenges. Here are some ideas to consider to make your communication virtually is as effective as it is in person:
Tone and enunciation matter. When I work with clients on public speaking, we often focus on body language, tone and enunciation. With more and more conference calls and virtual meetings, focus needs to shift to the delivery of your words. Yes...body language still matters (on video). However, your message will be better received when it is delivered with clear expectations and deliverables. Avoid the "I did" and "you said" types of sentences. Teams operate in a "we" space and that is even more important when leading virtually.
Increased participation leads to higher engagement. Allow your team to take a more participatory role in your virtual meetings. Provide leadership opportunities in calls. Give your team a change to shine. With added responsibility and leadership opportunities, your team will rise to the occasion and engage.
More than ever...address issues privately. This statement is true regardless of whether we are teleworking or not. However, in the confines of teleworking, calling out issues on a conference call or virtual meeting may serve to further isolate an employee or team member. Remember the old adage, "Praise publicly, criticize publicly."
All of our current challenges provide us with opportunities to rise up, continue to develop our future leaders and enhance productivity is we simply adapt and answer the call.