My tip for this week is to ask… ‘how are you?’
Check in with your employees and peers and ask them how they are coping with working remotely. How are their family members going? How is school from home going for them?
Check in and ask them something that isn’t purely work related.
One of the six core needs for humans is the need for connection.
When you only focus on work related, transactional conversations, you are not building a connection.
It’s very easy, especially now with remote working arrangements, for conversations with employees to become purely transactional. A lot of people are feeling more stretched than ever due to less resources in the team or trying to juggle kids learning remotely while working.
What happens when we’re stretched is the small, but very important things, such as connection drop away.
And, while it might feel like you are talking with your employees more than ever, constantly on the phone or zoom, unless you are checking in and asking how they are going they may feel very unconnected, unappreciated and lonely.
And, it’s happening more than you may realise:
I had a conversation with someone yesterday and they said ‘it doesn’t matter how often I ask my boss how he is going, how his family is, how his wife’s pregnancy is going, I’ve never once been asked how I am or how I’m finding things or how my family is going. He just doesn’t care.’
And another conversation with someone “it’s so busy at the moment and it’s hard to keep going and feel motivated when all I get is where are you at with this, when will this be finished…”
And another one “my boss hasn’t called me, not once. I’ve always been really self-sufficient, but it would be nice if he just checked in every now and then.”
Connecting on a personal level is not everyone’s strong point. While some people do it innately, others would prefer to never have to do it.
But this is just the basics and you need to get the basics right. If you manage people you need to ensure they are engaged, feel supported, feel heard and are OK. This is important at the best of times but even more so when people are home, perhaps alone, stressed or juggling family and work under the one roof.
When was the last time you checked in on how your team members are going? Not how they are going with their work but how they are really going. If it’s been a while, set yourself a task or a calendar reminder to make sure you check in with them by the end of the week.