How to be empathetic & manage your team remotely

How to be empathetic & manage your team remotely

“One thing that has also become crystal clear ever since the pandemic struck upon us is that Remote work is here to stay. 59% of the Indian working professionals prefer to continue working from home and given the current uncertainty, it is absolutely necessary ~ YourDOST survey”

Now amid this, as managers, you may often wish if there was a magic potion for enhancing team communication, productivity, and happiness. 

Well, turns out, there are key ingredients that can help you brew that potion and as you continue to do your best, we have some tips that can help you bridge the distance –  

  1. Be Transparent With Communications

Not all employees are alike and you know it well.  Some might not desire frequent connections while others might want more time from you. Be transparent about communication plans and then set team expectations. 

For instance, I am setting my time with you. I will reach out to check in with you. Experts say that such transparency helps to define and achieve objectives and reduces feelings of overwhelm.

Open Informal Interactions

Studies have shown that a lack of mutual knowledge among remote workers translates to a lower willingness to give coworkers the benefit of the doubt in difficult situations. One example of not being able to understand an individual’s mindset or circumstance behind an email. 

Try to have informal conversations about non-work topics as simple as How have things been? or organize virtual coffee breaks. This will build the team’s belongingness and trust towards you.

  1. Offer Emotional Support

Research says that employees look to their managers for cues about how to react to sudden changes or crisis situations. If a manager acknowledges difficult circumstances with a positive affirmation, employees are more likely to work with a sense of purpose and focus. 

Using statements like we have got this, or this is tough, but I know we can handle it, or asking questions like How are you keeping us with this remote work situation? is suggested by Experts to build empathy towards employees. 

  1. Take Care of Yourself

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown and with a lack of face-to-face supervision and distractions at home, we understand that it can only get difficult to manage a team remotely while meeting your own commitments. 

Remember to take small breaks, put it up on your calendar if required, and relax. Here is a 4-7-8 breathing technique which is recommended by Experts to help you feel calm – Inhale for 4 secs, hold your breath for 7 secs and exhale slowly from your mouth for 8 secs making a whoosh sound.

    How can leaders become more empathetic to their employees?

Has it ever happened to you that your own happiness seemed challenging because someone who’s close to you was in distress?  Maybe when you achieved your targets well in time while your colleague couldn’t? Or you have a stable relationship while your friend went through a break-up? In such situations, you may want to support such a person but may not know ‘How’. Guess what? There’s a skill that you can develop to meet them halfway and say

“I know how it feels

It’s ‘empathy’ – an ability to understand others’ emotions by feeling with them rather than feeling sorry for them and that’s not all. Research says that empathy is a great way to build stronger relationships and also promotes good health and lowers stress. With a motive to ‘build a fairer, healthier world’, we thought why not create a safe space where ‘Every feeling counts’? Here’s how:

  1. The Art of Now

The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. Experts say that it’s impossible to truly engage with someone else when we’re full of our own thoughts. A mind-hack you can try is creating an empty basket in your mind and preserving each thought from the opposite person in it, without filtering it through your own opinions.

  1. The Art of Active Listening

We may believe that we’re good listeners, but listening is more than waiting for our turn to speak. Active listening involves reflecting – “What you’re saying is”, Affirming – “I see”, and encouraging – “And then?” As per studies, this allows others to listen to themselves more carefully and pay attention to their thoughts and feelings. 

  1. The Art of Asking Questions

Research says that asking open-ended questions while someone is sharing concerns, is a powerful tool that deepens the conversation and uncovers hidden reasoning. If someone is sharing how they are sad about a failure, try saying “I can imagine how hard that must have been. What do you make of it?”. This shows that you care about their experience.

  1. The Art of Perspective-Taking

Studies say that when we put ourselves in other’s shoes, it broadens our self-perspective, reduces stress, and builds trust. So try to feel what it’s like to be someone else and feel it yourself. For eg. If you meet someone with financial issues, you may think about the things you have that they can’t afford.

Are you looking to build High Performing Resilient Organisations? We can help. Feel free to get in touch for assistance in building a culture of positivity and high performance.

Puneet Manuja