Quality Leadership in the 'Great Resignation' Era
Leaders need to anticipate accept this new way of business and adapt.
Known as the Great Resignation, millions of workers are leaving traditional workplaces. In a post-pandemic time where businesses navigate the new territory of remote-home offices, leadership is more crucial than ever. Knowing how to give your team proper support in a new environment will lead to higher company morale and productivity.
What is the Great Resignation?
The term dubbed the “Great Resignation” commemorates the exodus of workers to remote offices. What started as a social-distancing solution has since evolved different mindsets.
Remote work has opened better opportunities for productivity, sustainability, and quality of life. Likely, this trend of workers moving off-site won't end anytime soon. Those in leadership roles must keep up with the trends to improve productivity and provide quality support.
There is no denying that managing a remote team can be quite challenging. This is especially important when you intend to return to business as usual and ensure that all employees share the same goals. Even though remote offices grew out of necessity, they can still receive the same level of leadership support as any on-site setting. One of the biggest challenges is adjusting leadership methods to better fit the new “home-office style” of the employee work environment.
This includes creating dynamic communication and synergy while developing better relationships with employees and giving proper support. To adapt, flourish and innovate, leaders have shifted to a human-centric approach to people management.
Developing employee relationships
High-quality leadership is a genuine interest in the well-being of employees.
During the first wave of workers going remote, leaders had to develop quick solutions for a few unprecedented problems. Even though settling on software to conduct business meetings and handle email communications addresses the technical aspects of communication, much more needs to be done.
While remote offices have their benefits, they can feel isolating to employees at times. As a result, communication is difficult, and productivity issues can be overlooked by management.
Embrace real communication
You have to empower employees to communicate good and bad feedback with higher management and team leaders. Establishing honest and supportive rapport with employees is essential for true open communication. Only when employees feel understood will leaders hear genuine feedback on work experience.
Creating a dedicated communication space is one way many remote teams overcome this problem. This virtual "open-door policy" with access to every employee — regardless of level — is the best way to encourage and motivate employees. Their concerns, questions and feedback can be heard by all and create discussions, team-building exercises and genuine support. And, employees can receive feedback from leaders in the same open concept. Transparency will be the ultimate tool for creating solid working employee relationships.
Separate spaces for project-related emails and team-building communication can help organization and tone. But it's important to have a safe space for employees to be free to talk as needed.
For leaders, part of building a good employee relationship is learning to accept alternative insights. Not only is this a good way to build trust and enhance communication amongst employees, but opening the doors to different perspectives can lead to new initiatives for productivity-related avenues.
Marathon, not sprints
Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. While productivity may be at an all-time high, that only speaks of output. There are ways to increase not just productivity, but company morale too. But it won't happen in a day.
Make time to boost morale. An integral part of both high-morale and strong relationships is invested interest. Quality leadership is making the conscious effort to identify with and relate to fellow employees.
This genuine interest isn't to be implemented one day and achieved the next. Rather, it's a long process that, over time, builds trust and focus within the company on the personal level.
It's ok to have "Zoom-Free" days where meetings aren't scheduled. Having one afternoon a week dedicated to getting to know your coworkers is an excellent idea. Create games to accompany menial tasks, making tedious chores like answering emails and follow-up calls more fun.
If mandates allow, hold regular "in-person" days where employees can meet and socialize. This provides a break from the socially distant norm of working conditions.
The point is to make consistent time to engage with your team. Not everything needs a specific due date and a level of urgency. The relaxed atmosphere opens even more opportunities to lead with motivation and a real interest in the well-being of the employee.
Employee well-being comes first
A company is only as strong as its employees.
People living in the "Great Resignation" era of post-pandemic times have learned to reevaluate their careers. A high value has been placed on the quality of life and jobs that provide better work/life balance and overall satisfaction. Empathy, care and compassion are now seen as the new currency of the workplace as mental-health issues rise. Ensuring a healthy environment free of judgment and negativity is key to providing a safe space for employees to express themselves.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor