July 31, 2020
5 Minute Read
This article is a part of the series Re-Inventing Leadership: 9 Things Virtual Leaders must Focus on.
In the face of the Corona virus, Google made a huge leadership decision. It is now the first major U.S. corporation to keep its employees home until July 2021. The virus has caused confusion, fear, and dislocation. To deal with these new ramifications, leaders everywhere are being called up to focus on physical security, trust, and geography.
Because of this pandemic, we are not face-to-face with our employees any more and we need to Re-Invent our leadership to be ready to work in this new environment. Our leaders will have to fill new roles in the work-from-home environment. These new demands will include building trust and strengthening culture in a virtual environment. As leaders pioneering in this new environment, we’ve got to bring on a different type of energy to motivate and connect to our team.
How do we do it?
The leaders’ number one role in the face of the unknown is to create Clarity.
In the midst of endless distractions, your team needs to be able to wake up and be crystal clear on what it is that they need to do. Creating clarity has to do with guiding your employees to answer the following three questions.
#1 What are you going to bring?
Clarity begins with how to be, how to think, how to feel. There are so many options to face uncertainty. One of your roles as a leader is to clarify how your teammates are to face this uncertainty.
Uncertainty provides one of the greatest opportunities for you to support your teammates in being the best versions of themselves. Your team wants to be provoked with deep questions that help them focus on who they are and how they show up at work.
Ask your team members what kind of energy, emotions, mood and feelings they are going to bring to work that day. Ask them to whom they are going to bring that energy. Help your team create clarity by setting intentions on this question.
For example, are they going to bring?
Or are they going to bring?
Benefits of this question
Helps Your Team Navigate Tough Times
Creating clarity through thinking about what energy that they can bring helps your team play a different type of game at work. They create the intention to create a different type of a culture at work and with your customers. Creating this intention helps them become better prepared for their next difficult conversation. For example, it helps them bring inspiration into a tough conversation rather than resentment. Simply creating the intention of bringing a type of mood, emotion, energy and feeling to work creates the ability for your team to stretch themselves and step into that intention day after day.
Shows You Know and Honor Their Value
Asking this question shows how you really care for them and honor what they can actually bring to the table. It shows that you see them as “Culture Leaders” and empowers them with the ability to not only achieve results, but make an incredible impact on the people around them.
In the face of uncertainty, what energy, mood, emotions or feelings what are they going to bring?
#2 What are you going to build?
What do you need to get done this week? As your leader I want to know and I want to help you create clarity around your priorities.
To coach your team, help with the conversation that the person needs to build clarity on priorities and projects. What are the most important things that you are going to this week? The biggest gift you can give is to bring them clarity on what it is they need to bring right now.
What do you need to get done this week?
Sometimes for your team members, it’s really hard to figure out what their priorities are and what they need to do next. As a leader, one of the greatest things you can do to connect them to what is most important for the organization and for them as an individual.
Benefits of this question
Staying focused in a Distracted World
Right now, there are so many distractions out there. We’re all facing distractions like a screaming kid, a dog in the neighborhood, a gardener outside, and the biggest gift you can give your people is to help them gain clarity, so they can focus on what they need to bring that day.
As leaders, we need to focus on empathy right now and understand we are all facing distractions. It is harder right now more than ever to bring that focus, since we don’t have the infrastructure of the office around us.
Adding Autonomy to their Position
By asking your team members, what they are going to build, you empower them to identify and prioritize their own work, adding to the autonomy of their position. Effective leaders avoid the daunting and cultural debilitating task of micromanagement, because they know that they can get the best out of their people by empowering them to make their own decisions. If your team is already clear on the vision and the goals, help them with the next step which is to identify the priorities they need to focus on.
So help everyone with answering the question, what are you going to build?
#3 Where are you going to be bold?
I imagine that taking risks, being courageous, being bold is part of your culture. Bold is about risk taking, being creative, and innovation. You want to get your teammates identifying what risks they will take that week. You want to challenge them to stretch themselves, be creative, take risks,and think in a way they may have not thought before. When they are clear about how they’re going to get to achieve their next step in the projects that they’re on and identify the risks they can take, they can increase the innovation in the culture.
What risks will you take this week to achieve the next step of your project?
Benefits of this Question
Acknowledges Your Trust in Your Team
This question shows your acknowledgement to your employee that you really do trust in their ability to go out and do amazing things.
Clarity on Risk-Taking
This question also helps create clarity on where they need to focus and risk that week. It allows your employees to say, my leader wants me to take risks for the sake of innovation.
So, when you meet with your team this week, ask these three questions to create clarity. Be their coach, and help them build the clarity they need to bring a mood of success, be bold and build something amazing.
(Copeland, Google to Keep Employees Home Until Summer 2021 Amid Coronavirus Pandemic 2020)
Learn more about How Clarity Improves Teams