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In our current world of virtual working, asking your team for their ideas, input and help may not feel the same. The comfort of face to face is over and the rules of the game have changed.

It may seem less easy because we sense, whether true or false, that we have less small talk, less rapport and less relationship now we are remote from each other. It can feel harder to engage beyond the here and now.

Need it be this way?

Can we strengthen our relationships further and deeper in these challenging times? Or is this too difficult while we can’t actually meet? It’s not what we’re used to, and it can feel so strange when all we have is a screen. And yet this way of working is here to stay, for a number of months at least.

As we wait for clarity on how the businesses we serve – hospitality, transport, schools – open up again in our brave new world, your team may be an amazing resource to help you plan a way forward. You need their views on how to reinvent what you offer in this era of social distancing, and you need their input now.

They may be closer to the ground and more able to see what is possible both now and moving forward.

You will need to create a future based on what your context will allow. Your future will emerge, step by step, taking advantage of each new opportunity available from every small easing of lockdown.

Your challenge is to spot quickly, what the opportunity can be.

The entire world has all been offered a masterclass in adaptability and flexibility and your team is waiting to be part of the solution.

How can you ask your team for help?

NB/ This approach can be used with your partners, collaborators and customers too.

  • Say what help and input you want. Be clear. Ask them for their observations, perceptions, insights, mad ideas and energy to find out what is both possible and COVID secure moving forward, where you can try something new. Ask them one to one, and ask them together as a group.
  • Give them lots of space. Be skilful. Use insightful questions. Ask for imagery, metaphors, songs to describe how things could be. Ask more questions to build on their initial thoughts. Tap into their creativity and imagination and encourage them to get their wildest thinking out loud. This may be where the most radical ideas and your best possible future lies.
  • Say thank you. It’s hard for all of us right now. They need to know that going out on a limb for you, sharing their ideas, taking a risk in their relationship with you, is appreciated.

I urge you to use the value of your team in planning your post lockdown future.

Currently, for most of us, virtual working is all we have. Waiting until this is over is not an option. We must enhance our remote working skills and challenge ourselves to ask for help now, and to build viable futures across the screen as best we can.

Gill How loves to help leaders, managers and professionals stretch and grow. She is a Master Executive Coach and Innovative Leadership Developer currently working virtually in the UK and internationally. Please contact her for an exploratory conversation if you think she can help you succeed with your remote team working effectiveness and COVID secure goals.

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Photo credit: Anna Shvets

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Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results

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