Posts Tagged attention
My last blog post is one that I would characterize as “vanilla” – fairly mundane and clinical. I started this blog with those types of thoughts to share, focusing on leadership and communication. I still want to share those things but I may alter it to a much more personal point of view. The point I want to make now is that I can have it all! I wrote about two months ago about my trepidation of starting a new job/career with a new company (Edge of a Cliff). I still want to soar and not crash but so far I think I’m doing a good job. I was promoted this week!
I will give all the credit to my husband. Without his support, I could not devote my attention to my work during the day. Also, this is a big change for me and for him in our roles in our lives. For the last few years I was the one with our kids for any and everything – sick days, summer break, early outs from school. I enjoyed every minute of it because I recognized it probably wouldn’t last. One of our agreements before starting my new full-time position was that if it wasn’t me with our kids, it would be him. We feel very strongly that we need to be as much of a presence in our kids lives as possible. Now that is his role.
It is a new adventure for my husband as well in this chapter of our lives. He was a career professional and now is more devoted to our children and our home. I want to support him in any way possible but I also have comfort that he and our kids are okay. I appreciate all that he is doing for our family but I feel that he is supporting me as well. There is no pressure from him to succeed, just a desire to help me in whatever way I need.
That is my point in this blog post – support. We can do things all by ourselves and sometimes we have no choice in that matter. However, I believe we all benefit when we have support from others in our lives. That support may not always be in an obvious form or exactly what we think we want, but there is another hidden message. When we support each other, we show our love and concern. I feel supported and therefore I feel like I can perform at my best. I hope all those that I support feel the same.
Communicating via technology is not only expected but required for most positions today. As our teams become more separated, not just via computers at our desks but even across the globe, we have to learn how to work and lead using technology. Integrating technology expands the work location options, where some jobs allow remote computer access as a means of off-site support, and some encourage a better work-life balance. Therefore, working from home is promoted 1-2 days per week, while others are 100% remote positions. I started looking at these full-time telecommuting jobs (100% remote), trying to detect any expectation adjustments between off- and on-site positions. The truth was there was no difference in the job descriptions except to be comfortable with remote work. However, for the people in charge, it means working and leading in a whole new way. Instead of standing in the room with someone and shaking his or her hand, interactions are completely non-physical. The question must be asked: How can we lead when we don’t actually meet? I believe we can still practice the core fundamentals of leadership face-to-face or otherwise.
First we have to go back and look at the requirement for a good remote team member before we can lead the team. I mentioned that remote work or telecommuting requires people who are comfortable with that type of environment. That means the person doing the job will be essentially on his or her own. She/he must be ready to learn new skills and processes (sometimes with little to no support) and keep motivated without someone literally standing over his or her shoulder. That second part is the harder part. For me working at home sometimes can be more of a distraction than a blessing. There are so many little to-dos that take my attention as well as the big focus-getters like family. Leaders need to look for qualities and characteristics that demonstrate strong personal motivation and self-starting for team members who will work remotely.
Leaders also have to be strong personal motivators, but with a remote team they have to figure out how to motivate others, too. The advancements in technology help in this area. Video communication tools like Microsoft Lync or Skype give the opportunity to put a face to the name. Also, voice communication gives people the chance to see/hear the conversation instead of completely relying on emails. As mentioned in many other blogs, emails have a way of being misconstrued or misunderstood. Bottom line, being a leader is just being a leader – the fundamentals do not change. Even though the team may not sit in the same room, it is possible to get people to communicate; it may just take a little more effort. Therein lies the key. Communication is critical no matter what the environment of the team. One last point: In my opinion, leaders’ expectations of performance and professionalism should not be sacrificed at the altar of technology.
The Professional Development Team