Managing remotely? Here’s a way to reconnect your virtual team.
The world today looks a lot different than it previously did, especially when considering the traditional office environment. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we used to mingle with each other in the office or stop by a coworker’s desk to have a casual (sometimes even work-related!) conversation.
We were able to get to know each other more effectively and understand each other’s personalities better, simply because we were in close proximity to one another.
We felt connected by our routines and our work processes.
Now, we’re on Zoom calls and only see each other two-dimensionally.
Because of this virtual format, we are mostly sticking to business topics when we converse with each other, so there are fewer opportunities to get to know the team on a more personal level. There may have even been people added to your team since the pandemic hit who have never met with their coworkers in person.
Even if you are spending some time in the office, masks and social distancing have made casual conversations much less enjoyable.
Because of this teams don’t feel quite as connected as they used to.
While technology has been helpful in keeping businesses functioning and allowing people to work together while we are apart, it is easy to see how the social rules and conventions of a virtual meeting are different than an in-person meeting. When you are meeting in person, it is easier to read body language, understand facial expressions, and gauge intentions. In virtual meetings, it is often difficult to know when someone is trying to speak and it’s easy to accidentally talk over others or misinterpret what is being said.
Because of all these factors, strengths work can play a very helpful role to reconnect your virtual team and help them understand each other better. When the members of your team understand their talents and come to know their coworkers’ core attributes, they will work together more effectively, feel more connected and understood, and ultimately perform their work more productively.
Here is an example of a challenge that came upon a particular team I’ve been working with. One of the individuals on the team has a talent called Command. Command is all about presence and a forceful way of being. Individuals with this attribute value getting their point across and bringing others along with them.
In this digital virtual environment that we’re living in, the person who speaks the loudest and the most frequently is the one whose camera lights up on Zoom. Those who may be more timid can find it much more difficult to voice an opinion in these types of meetings.
In this team’s virtual meetings, this person was stepping into conversations in a way that was not being viewed favorably by their coworkers. The other people on the team felt this was sucking the life out of some of the conversations and overshadowing other people’s point-of-view. They felt that he was commanding all the attention without taking the time to let others speak.
This person has great intentions and a desire to contribute and help the team succeed. Those who had worked with this individual face-to-face understood his personality and appreciated the input he gave, but others who were newer on the team didn’t understand where this was coming from. They felt overwhelmed, unheard, and were beginning to shut down.
The leader found this situation challenging. He wanted all members of the team to feel valued and free to speak up, but he also didn’t want to call this other individual out for simply wanting to contribute in the way he did best.
We did a series of workshops with this team. After immersing themselves in this work, the leader began to understand himself better, and each of the team members better. The team members began to understand themselves and the others that they worked with, in a way that they would not have otherwise.
As a result, the people that worked with this commanding individual began to understand where his force of presence was coming from. They could see it wasn’t malicious, it is just the way this person is wired. The individual himself began to understand the impact of this personality trait, along with the value of it.
As I’ve said before, no talent is better or worse than another. It simply comes down to knowing your strengths and how to use them for your good and the benefit of your team. Having presence and confidence is a good thing.
However, using it effectively is also equally important. As his team members began to understand more about this individual, they began to appreciate him more. He was able to use this talent in a constructive way that didn’t cause confusion or hurt feelings.
Using Strengths Work To Help
This positive change is a direct result of doing strengths work. This same conflict can happen in an office environment, but we are seeing conflicts come up in new ways in the time of COVID, social distancing, and working from home. Because of this, strengths work can be an incredibly powerful tool.
At Core Focus Consulting, we make this process easy for you and your team. We will take you through the Clifton Strengths Tool and help you to discover the unique mix of talent on your team. We will conduct a series of workshops that will increase your understanding of what each of the strengths profiles mean and what they have to offer your team when nurtured correctly.
You’ll have easy-to-understand reports at your finger-tips to use anytime you need a refresher about the people on your team and how it may be best to approach them or handle conflict. You’ll be empowered to help reconnect your virtual team, improve productiviy and personal responsibility.
If you feel like strengths work could benefit you, whether you are working virtually or in-person, I’d love to talk with you. You can book a free 15-minute call with me here and we can discuss the ways that this work can help you create a more connected team.