Honestly, I can’t really remember what happened during the holidays – can you? It’s been only few weeks in to the New Year, and it like the joyous season never happened. I’m not poo pooing the holidays it just seems as though everything moves so quickly to get back to normal, whatever your normal is, faster every year.
I think this is how most managers feel these days. Everything is done on the run. We have drive thru restaurants, coffee shops, and drycleaners and yes, in Florida we have drive-thru liquor stores – ah, but that’s another post! Our lives are so consumed with hurried meals, discussions and meetings it makes sense to me that most managers need to be able to manage on the run – but is it an effective way to manage?
You might be thinking this is a bad thing, but not necessarily. With the large contingency of telecommuters and remote offices, managing via phone, Skype or webinar is becoming more mainstream for a vast majority of us. Honestly, there is something to be said for not having your manager in the office next to you.
To be an effective leader “on the run” you really need to hone your communication style and skills. As we all know, email communication can be one of the most misinterpreted communication tool out there. How many times have we responded to an email with angry overtones, cutting remarks and possibly career ending jokes? I’ve seen a lot of those in my career. Email, telephone and other written communications must be clear and concise – you should never leave it up to the recipient to interpret your meaning. This is a very dangerous way to lead and manage. If you have to explain the meaning of your email – there is something wrong. Ensure the team knows your style and what they can expect from you as it relates to email communication, i.e., I like to write short and sweet sentences; I use all caps – but, no I’m not yelling at you, etc…
Another way to effectively lead and/or manage on the run is to state the purpose of your meeting/call or visit to the region. The worst feeling in the world is to receive word that your manager is coming to see you or wants a meeting, and you have no idea what to expect or prepare for. Some managers have used that as a tool to keep their people on their toes – not effective leadership in my opinion. A great call or meeting begins with preparation, right? Why leave your employee out there hanging with nothing to go on except that they have to be at Starbucks at 9am – do you think they got any sleep the night before, uh, no.
Now that our workforce is mobile, remote and always changing, management and leadership styles need to map to this, and it’s more critical than ever. The way we communicate across the spectrum needs to consistent and concise to avoid any misinterpretation by our employees. And while you can’t control all interpretations of your message, at the very least you are consistent and everyone knows what to expect?
What are some other tidbits for managers and leaders on the run? Please share your thoughts as comments below!
Image by Phillie Casablanca
Good message for us all Carol. Too often I find myself, and the members of my team, moving so fast we can barely catch out breath. The skill of “effective communication” becomes even more important when the demands of our jobs keep us moving fast. That fast pace is part of the thrill of work; but also is one of the biggest challenges.
I agree that it’s a great message and a “hot” topic. In my experience as a leader of a remote team, I have found that constant and frequent communication – “blips” – is key to an effective team. That being said, a leader must also ensure that the remote, mobile employees have the DNA to be successful, since not everyone can be productive and efficient as a remote/mobile employee. It takes discipline from the employee and clear direction and expectations from the leader. Finally, I have found remote/mobile employees are generally more productive (no commute time and online early), and satisfied in their jobs (able to balance work /life demands (e.g., errands) while in transit.
Great message as always Carol. And as far as the holidays are concerned, I’m with ya!