5 tips of remote leadership for New Normal

5 tips of remote leadership for New Normal

Due to the movement restrictions and lockdowns during this COVID-19 period, working from home (WFH) became not only a necessity, but also proved to be a viable option for a large population of the workforce around the world, including in Thailand.

Andrianto Jayapurna, President of Henkel Thailand, said that WFH brings both advantages and challenges. While some people may enjoy the savings in commute time, greater flexibility and more time with their family, others may suffer from poor IT connection, distractions and a feeling of isolation.  Knowing that WFH can affect employees differently, it is important for managers to embrace a leadership style that is not only digital and flexible, but more importantly, empathetic, collaborative and empowering.

Mr. Jayapurna added that over the years, Henkel has built up a comprehensive digital workplace, and this has proved to be effective during this COVID-19 crisis. For example, in Henkel Thailand, our employees can work remotely, stay in touch virtually with their teams as well as attend online meetings and trainings. 

“We especially encourage all our employees to stay positive and continue to upskill themselves via our digital learning platform.  Both our Adhesive Technologies and Beauty Care businesses are also actively engaging with our customers, business partners, and consumers, for example by using various digital tools and social media channels to provide technical support and conduct educational classes,” said Mr. Jayapurna.

From Henkel’s experiences around the world, here are five tips on leading team members in a virtual working environment during this COVID-19 season.

1: Connect on a personal level

This is an exceptional situation for all employees. Acknowledge that their health and the health of their families comes first. Listen attentively and show understanding for their feelings and their challenges. Ask how you can support them. Do not put pressure on your team members if they struggle to fulfil all their tasks. Consider using video calls more often to help overcome physical distance and connect on a more personal level with your team.

2: Guide and empower your team 

Set goals, communicate expectations and empower your team to fulfil their tasks. Communicate clearly what the short-term priorities (for the day and the week) and long-term priorities (for the month and quarter) are. Hold regular virtual discussions to exchange ideas and help team members to stay on track on project milestones and move together towards a common goal. Provide guidance on the various digital tools to enhance collaboration and work efficiencies. Actively encourage team members to embrace continuous learning to upskill themselves.

3: Allow flexibility

Show support by accepting that working hours may vary among your team members, due to many different reasons. For example, parents may need to take care of their kids during the day and therefore work late in the evening rather than during regular business hours. 

4: Build and maintain a culture of trust

This is a key ingredient for successful collaboration – no matter whether you share an office with your team or not. When leading from a distance, communicate even more and show that you’re there: When your team asks you for feedback, let them know that you received their request and give them an expected time for your response. This will create predictability, security and ensures that everybody feels heard.

5: Don’t put yourself under too much pressure

There will be days where you don’t feel well, where you need to take care of your family, and where the whole situation feels overwhelming and unmanageable. This is okay and shows your team that you are only human that it is totally fine to struggle sometimes. Be kind to yourself by planning regular breaks to recharge so you can better focus on the next task.

While the pandemic is challenging on many fronts, strong leadership is the foundation for a winning culture that promotes trust, embraces innovation and empowers decision-making. A strong leadership culture with clear commitments and guidance will enable us to overcome the odds and emerge stronger together.

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