KEEP YOUR BUSINESS RUNNING REMOTELY - LOOK AFTER YOUR TEAM'S INTROVERTS & EXTROVERTS
Welcome to the second in our series of #5toptips on how to keep your business running remotely during the coronavirus outbreak, this time focusing on your team’s introverts and extroverts ensuring they’re all included and valued.
Today, our Managing Director, John Moss, passes on some simple ideas to help us navigate the new normal.
For many years those confident extroverts have been the ones getting all the airtime. Remote working is changing that and the introverts might now get their opportunity. This will all mean you need to think about and review the potential impact on your team’s dynamics, cohesiveness and effectiveness. In our view people used to being ‘out in the field’ are going to find this new world especially challenging so here are JA Consulting’s #5toptips for this new era:
- Make sure team social check ins happen. Focus them on the informal (that’s not ignoring the tactical things you need to do). We must not forget that for many, whatever their psychological preferences, this is going to be an incredibly stressful time and managers, and especially those in sales, need to put in extraordinary effort to check in with their team members. A glib “how is morale” is not enough. We need to focus people onto the positive things that have happened. Five minutes on a thirty-minute call smiling together, and asking about the best things that have happened today can make a massive difference.
- Give people structure. Help those whose normal world is characterised by lots of interaction and activity by giving them a routine and help them develop clear objectives within the new world. Recognise that that routine may need to change as we get used to this new way of working so keep checking in about whether it’s working.
- Recognise different individual needs. The introverts in your team will be shining through in this new world – they are likely to feel less pressured to immediately react and they are more likely to have done the preparation. Make sure you give them time to prepare – send out the objectives and any reading in plenty of time. The extroverts might not have done the preparation so when you run team sessions work really hard to give space for them to express how they are reacting to ideas and proposals.
- Be clear about your role on any calls. Realise that your job, even more than before, is not giving answers but helping the team come to consensus. If you are an introvert then prepare a few questions about next steps, if you are an extrovert mute your microphone!
- Build resilience in this new world. This new way of working will mean different things to different people – our psychological preferences coupled with our work and life experiences and ambitions drive how we behave. But during the current crisis most of us don’t have life or work experiences to fall back on. This means that, broadly, the more reflective people are likely to be more resilient – they will probably be more analytical about the risks and likely outcomes. But for a few that inward focus could be quite damaging so look out for those, and gauge how stressed they are getting (this graphic much-shared on Social Media is a good reminder for us all – from https://www.facebook.com/drvanessalapointe/). Also watch your own team conversations and make sure you keep them focused on the things you can control.
Beyond all, the most important role you have as a leader in these times is to actively consider yourself as the monitor of team health – force yourself to think through how the team is working, pull out any previous team psychometrics you’ve had done, consider the different types you have in the team, and make sure you’re making it work for them. Investments in your people – be they introvert or extrovert – now will pay dividends through this period, and into team cohesion in the future, so it’s worth the effort!
For more reading check out
Harvard Business Review, 2012: The Power of the Introvert in Your Office – https://hbr.org/2012/07/the-power-of-the-introvert-in
Forbes 27 Mar 2020: “It’s Not So Bad”; Introverts And the Lockdown – Our Moment Has Come – https://www.forbes.com/sites/karlmoore/2020/03/27/its-not-so-bad-introverts-and-the-lockdownour-moment-has-come/#7d94a70e4ba8
Forbes 22 Mar 2020: “I Can’t Take It Anymore!”: How To Cope With The Lockdown As An Extrovert – https://www.forbes.com/sites/karlmoore/2020/03/22/help-im-an-extrovert-working-remotely/#4d35f59b563a
Bloomberg 28 Mar 2020: For Introverts, Quarantine Can Be a Liberation – https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-03-28/coronavirus-for-introverts-quarantine-can-be-a-liberation
And for a little bit of light relief
Some cartoons from Dutch artist Lody Njiokiktjien – https://www.demilked.com/introverts-during-coronavirus-lody-njio/
The coronavirus Covid-19 situation has developed perhaps faster than anyone anticipated with new – and some quite drastic – changes to every day working and home life all over the world. With more people working from home there’s a heavy reliance on online communications for day to day activities.
The good news is that at JA Consulting we’ve been working for a while now to hone how you can get the best out of teams when you can’t be physically co-located, and getting good at this now will reap you dividends in the future – the skills you embed in the organisation and your people will no doubt bring greater efficiency, improved environmental output and even some cost savings when we’re all free to go back to ‘normal’.
Over the next few weeks we’re going to be sharing some tips from our experts about how to keep your business running remotely.