Remote leadership in times of crisis

A month has passed since Portugal has gone home and teams became remote at all costs. The web is growing exponentially, and remote leadership was imposed on  a great team that makes new daily commits on websites that demand innovation and communication by the minute.

Maria Cabral de Sousa
Apr 13 2020 • 2 min reading
Remote leadership in times of crisis

Leading in times of crisis is challenging but doing it remotely makes the challenge even greater. Leaders like to see faces, to speak to people, to manage challenges together and to "read" the reaction of each person in their expression and behavior. Working remotely makes this more difficult.

Here are some tips on what I believe is expected of a leader in times of crisis, even remotely:

  • 1st To recognize the dimension of the global problem. Telling the truth is important, communicate it to the team and help everyone understand it clearly.
  • 2nd To recognize the daily challenges of each person of your team, at home, with children, meals,  more intense couple relationships as well as loneliness. Each have their own challenges, and everyone deserves attention.
  •  3rd To communicate and promote communication between the team, staying together is even more important when the physical distance is imposed upon us.
  • 4th To look ahead, beyond the current situation, so we can be together where we want to, when this is all over.
  • 5th To trust your team more than ever, to delegate and promote more responsibility and autonomy, recognizing the daily achievements of each one.
  • 6th To share your vision but also your anxieties and listen to each persons vision through this challenge that belongs to all of us.
  • 7th To prepare the company to fight and win. Not all battles are won, but only those who fight are able to win them. It is easier to reach the end of the trip when we all paddle together in the same direction.

In our area we breathe digital, the online world is natural and easy for us, we are prepared to do everything remotely and our life is easier than so many other sectors where none of this is even possible.

What is really challenging and new for me is this remote leadership. I am used to see the way each team member enter the office in the morning, each voice tone saying good morning, the meaning of someone’s silence on a more difficult day or the excitement felt on a creative day working on a new project. I miss the bell ringing on celebration for a new website going online and the way we react together to a challenge that has just been communicated, ... the expression of each one, recognizing the most enthusiastic and the most afraid and deal with each one according to who they are.

Leading in times of crisis is challenging but being remote makes the challenge incomparably greater. We will keep together to overcome this challenge.

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