Read our short but insightful article to learn about how to effectively handle team management during COVID. We share our insights and tips from our Live with industry professionals.
Although it’s difficult to manage work tasks from home, it’s even more challenging to manage a team during COVID. The dynamics and work conditions of teams have dramatically changed with no hard and fast rules on how to adapt. Team members and business leaders had to learn how to communicate and collaborate effectively while managing their increased responsibilities. This week on our Live at 5, we discussed ‘Team Management during COVID’ with Nagela Dales and Yamila Franco to share our insights on how COVID impacted team dynamics and work conditions, how team leaders can adjust to become better leaders, and what the best tools and practices are to leverage teamwork during COVID.
How has COVID impacted the work conditions of teams?
Pivoting to remote work has been a game-changer. There is now a false sense of trust in the workforce. Work teams obtain complete autonomy on projects to ease the remote working process. However, the team leader doesn’t always share their true expectations on the work project with the team. This can lead to drastic micromanaging towards the end when the project is presented on a tight deadline to the clients before implementation
Employees have many other responsibilities during COVID. Working from home is not the same as going to the office and working alongside team members. This new situation changes the nature of project management. Instead of managing the project, team leaders now manage the team. A best practise is for the team leader to have a good understanding of what will be involved in completing a task or project before delegating when and how the project will be done by the team member.
As COVID diminished some sectors, some businesses are going after new markets. This change brought some leaders to have a greater need for innovation, driving leaders to search for staff with more specialized skills.
Because so many more industries are working remotely, some teams are finding that there are less time and less personal interaction opportunities. This environmental change makes it harder for team members to successfully communicate with each other. Nagela mentioned that team leaders need to prioritize the purpose, intention and preferred way of doing a task over only sharing the task description with the team member. This reduces the understanding gap between the member and the team leader and improves productivity. Team leads need to think through the workflow of each task before each meeting so they can prepare the team members for a more successful meeting.
How have the dynamics among leaders, team members and clients changed?
Communications and transparency have become vital to ensure effective team management during COVID and its changing dynamics. Client expectations on timing, effort and workload might not match the capabilities of the team. This communication gap often leads the team leader to micromanage towards the result. To avoid this, it’s best for the team leaders to share their skills and expectations on how to do the project with the team before delegating the project on behalf of the clients.
However, this issue isn’t the only issue when it comes to balancing client expectations and working with a team. Team members also might have different expectations of each other and what may be possible based on current circumstances. To improve efficiency, leaders should clearly share why and how they want tasks to be done with their employees. This can be executed by check-in with each team member to ensure everyone is on the same page for what needs to be done. However, leaders should keep in mind the team members’ personal circumstances at home may impact their timeline and work hours.
How are leaders adjusting to this changing work environment?
The setbacks of COVID increased the pressure on managers to perform. However, this might result in decreased productivity and mental health challenges. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is the best way to avoid creating bottlenecks in meeting team goals.
Both Yamila and Nagela mentioned the importance of being an authentic leader for team building. Both guests talked about the importance of treating team members as partners instead of subordinates whether it’s sharing difficulties or learning their needs to foster a healthier work culture and a more motivated team.
How can team leaders become better leaders?
Empowering employees both increase employee motivation and productivity. This gives leaders more time to lead and work on their own tasks.
Leaders need to share:
- What needs to be done
- Why and how they want it to be done
- Project timelines with their employees while empathizing and factoring in their other responsibilities at home
What are the best tools and practices to leverage teamwork and team management during COVID?
Understanding your employees’ skillsets, wants and needs is important when attempting to manage and organise tasks. Yamila shared how she gives complete autonomy to her employees and treat them like partners in her business. Once again, clear communication is the key to successfully allocate tasks to team members.
In order to foster a high level of teamwork, visual idea sharing can allow them to brainstorm ideas together. Sharing sticky notes, lists, and drafts can be as effective as having a meeting. If you think you can’t achieve this during self-isolation, we have a great app for you! Miro is a collaborative whiteboard platform that allows teams to maintain their collaborative work process. Employees can add sticky notes, draw mind maps, create customer journeys on these canvases and collaborate as they would in the office.
Another previously mentioned challenge of working during self-isolation is managing task timelines. If are not sure of how long a task might take as you manage other responsibilities at home, we suggest you use the Notion app. This software eases time management by calculating the length of a task based on many factors, including energy levels and workload.
Motivating employees during this time of change and ambiguity might be difficult. Ensuring the growth of team members can be one way to tackle this challenge. If your team members need guidance, you can equip them with the tools they need. This can range from sharing inspirational videos and books to apps and software. Although the world stopped during COVID, effective leadership can ensure team members keep growing.
You don’t need to overbook Zoom meetings to follow your team members’ work progress. Sometimes an email is enough to get you the information you need. Try to understand which communication method is best without overbooking meetings. If you need to remember points made in a Zoom meeting, you can also record your meetings using screen recorders. This gives you the ability to re-watch the exact points discussed.
A good leader provides support to employees and team members. A better leader keeps showing support even if those members want to move on to other companies. Even though this might seem like a loss of talent at first, it isn’t. Your current employees might become future partnership opportunities. Keeping a positive mindset and foster the team culture you want to cultivate!
We hope you enjoyed reading our blog about ‘Team Management during COVID’! Check the full live chat here. You can find our live chats and more of the latest financial news on our News Blog. Stay tuned to learn more tips on a new topic each week on our Instagram Live at 5 on Instagram! Aside from our live chats, we post daily financial updates on social media!