Learning how to “show up” in a virtual world
Pop quiz hot shots: What makes a good manager great? Good managers manage, great managers lead. One of the toughest questions facing managers today, is how do I lead my team in an increasingly online, virtual and mobile world? (Bonus points for those who got the Speed reference in the beginning!)
“Leadership is about how you ‘show up’”, GE CEO Jeff Immelt said that. Leadership is all about how you act and behave in everyday situations. It’s those daily actions that define our leadership persona. However, as more and more employees work from home, having the same online presence as when in the office is a new challenge facing today’s managers. I know that there’s something to be said for face to face communication, yet it’s becoming even more important to develop skills that enable managers to “show up” and lead online which is why I wanted to share this post by Ron Ricci from the Cisco blog with you today. In this post, Ricci lays out 3 key leadership tips to help managers identify their online leadership persona and which communication platforms will work best for them.
1. Know how you work
Whether it’s in person or online, understanding how we work and authentically represent ourselves is important. By understanding how you work, you are better situated to take that knowledge and apply your strengths towards crafting your own unique online leadership style. The best way to get the ball rolling here is to take an online assessment to learn your communication style. (For example, here’s a good one – to take it click the green “Take Survey” button”). These are kind of like a Myers-Briggs test and provide you with a customized profile of your unique communication style. Tests like this reveal how you naturally process and communicate information and enable you to use this knowledge to become a better team leader.
2. Know where you excel
Just as you play to your strengths in the real world, it’s important to do the same in the virtual world. For example, if you are a conceptual thinker “you will excel when the team needs someone to explain the aspirations of a decision, such as a vision” writes Ricci. Conceptual thinkers tend to excel when using video presentations, as “they love talking about ideas and tapping into that passion on video is a great way to play to one’s strengths.”
Just as conceptual thinkers excel when on video, analytical thinkers are more comfortable when communicating a decision to a team. “These thinkers are outstanding in virtual mediums where precision communicates best – such as online question and answer sessions and discussion forums,” says Ricci. Online Q&As and discussion forums play to their strong, logical analytical nature – “they love communicating the steps taken, the processes used, and the supporting facts of a decision,” says Ricci.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
Knowledge is only half the battle. It’s equally important to go out there and practice what you preach. The more you practice with your team, the better your results will be. It takes some time for people to alter their work habits. So, the more you practice, the stronger your team will become. Additionally, the more this becomes routine, the more your team will appreciate your unique efforts at participation in the world they live in.
Leaning how to show up and lead in today’s increasingly virtual world isn’t a simple task. Luckily, there are some quick and easy steps you can take to help overcome these challenges.