As a top decision-maker, you know the difficult balance between caring for team members in a personal way and maintaining proper professionalism with your team. I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to this difficult issue, but I do believe there are guidelines that can serve to maintain the balance in effective and fruitful ways.
My guest on this episode of the podcast is Jason Adamany, CEO and Founder of IT Service provider, Adesys, a company he started while he was still in college. Naturally, coming right out of college Jason was anything but a seasoned leader, but by applying a growth mindset to his leadership as well as to his company he's gleaned a wealth of personal experience that is ripe with takeaways on this topic.Modern business challenges brought on by COVID-19
Imagine this scenario: Your company’s workforce includes individuals who have worked for the company for many years and for the entire company’s existence, those team members have worked together, face to face, in the same facility. Then comes COVID-19, a worldwide pandemic that has forced companies to do business differently, by going entirely remote. Most of you don’t have to imagine the scenario because you’re living it. COVID-19 is no-doubt putting your leadership skills to the test, forcing you to learn new ways of cultivating and maintaining team culture in spite of the "new normal" of remote work.
Jason Adamany says his entire staff is working remotely now. He’s finding it difficult to foster the team environment in the ways he's used to, especially as new team members come on. He hopes that most of his team will come back on-site before long, but the unknown and ongoing aspects of the current situation place more demands on team members and as a result, the company. He's learning to stay flexible and seek to understand.
As team members juggle the situations COVID-19 has thrust upon them, such as their children being participants in digital classrooms while staying home, company leaders have to be able to flex with the changing needs of their employees while still turning a profit. One of the primary tools leaders must employ in a situation like this clear and compassionate communication.Listening empowers leadership and encourages the team
When top leaders care for their teams effectively, team members are then able to care for clients in unprecedented ways. That’s the philosophy Jason Adamany has about the type of relationship leaders need to develop with team members. It’s a difficult balance that has no cookie-cutter solutions, however, there are many ways leaders can move in this direction, and all of them begin with effective listening:
How involved should a leader be in the lives of their team members? Many would say that it’s inappropriate and potentially improper for leaders to ask too many questions about the private lives of their team members. Others feel they can’t lead their team members effectively if they don’t know what those individuals are experiencing in life outside of work hours.
Jason Adamany says that his approach is to take the issue on a case by case basis.
Each individual on a team will have a unique comfort level when it comes to their leaders knowing the details of their private lives. So take it slow and easy. While the best way to be there for employees is to seek to understand what’s going on outside of work, you may have to simply make it known that you are willing to listen and willing to help when and where your team members feel comfortable with that level of sharing.
This is a tricky balance but a clear way that positive team culture, loyalty, and long-term commitment can be fostered. Listen to this episode to hear more!Outline of This Episode
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