Working from home, remote working, hybrid working. These are all workplace models that many of us were largely unfamiliar with until recently. But since the coronavirus pandemic forced countries around the world to become acquainted with this style of working, we have had no choice but to adapt and move forward.
Aside from getting used to the logistics of remote and hybrid working, the transition has also prompted those in a position of seniority to ask a burning question: How do I stand out as a leader while working remotely or within a hybrid workplace?
The move to the remote/hybrid workplace
To say that Covid-19 has changed the global professional landscape would be the understatement of the century. Not only was the change drastic and unexpected, it seemed to occur in the blink of an eye once whispers of lockdown began in March 2020.
Fast forward to the middle of that same year, and over 40% of the working population in Ireland was working from home. Almost 18 months into the global pandemic, this pattern looks set to continue, with a new law currently in motion that is likely to see both remote and hybrid workplace culture become part and parcel of professional life.
New challenges posed within a virtual work environment
Statistics aside, while the hybrid and remote workplace models undeniably have their strong points, they do create a brand-new set of challenges for individuals struggling to assert their leadership prowess outside of a face-to-face situation.
When you work in close physical proximity with your team on a daily basis, it is easy to create a rapport while projecting a certain level of authority. Both the act of communication itself and the way you communicate are key components in strong workplace relationships, particularly when it comes to making an impression among those in a senior position.
The virtual work environment threatens this in a big way. So, how can you stand out from the crowd and demonstrate your Leadership Presence qualities when working remotely?
Top tips to stand out as a leader in a remote or hybrid workspace
1. Take charge during meetings.
Virtual meetings provide ample scope for those with leadership skills to stand out, engage and inspire others to action. From organising the meeting and inviting attendees, to encourage participants to get involved by sharing their feedback and applying themselves to the tasks assigned, you can showcase your abilities in a number of ways within a meeting setting.
The type of meeting you chair will also say a lot about you as a leader. For example, opting for the round-robin method will portray you as an equitable individual who is keen to explore the potential of others by helping them to shine on their own merits.
2. Strategically delegate workloads.
A great manager or director will strive to maintain a certain level of quality with all work delivered. With that in mind, it might seem counterproductive to hand the control of certain project elements over to colleagues, but in fact, delegation is key to proving your worth as an effective leader.
By strategically delegating specific responsibilities to individuals with the talent and enthusiasm to handle the task at hand, you show that you have the ability to recognise the potential in others.
Not only will your actions in this instance enable your colleagues to stand out and grow professionally, but you are in turn building a skilled team to oversee the future success of the company.
3. Invest your time in networking and communication.
Frequent communication with your colleagues and managers is essential in today’s remote workplace.
Take advice from author Keith Ferazzi, who discusses the importance of regularly maintaining professional relationships in his book Never Eat Alone. The bestselling writer backs the belief that building a rapport outside of business constraints is the secret to creating deeper and more influential connections.
An authentic leader is one that can create a personal connection while also commanding respect.
Also strive to stay connected with people both within and outside of your organisation by arranging virtual catch-ups on a regular basis, not only to discuss business matters but also to check in and maintain friendships.
By investing time and effort into obtaining this balance through your virtual networking efforts, you will reap long-term rewards.
4. Encourage regular feedback.
When working in a virtual space, actively providing feedback at regular intervals is vital for team productivity and business success. Consider applying the ‘Keep, Stop, Start’ process during team meetings as a way to increase the quality of work produced and ensure each person is working to their strengths.
Begin by discussing the aspects of work you are satisfied with and that harness good results. Then, move onto the areas that you would recommend being improved or the practices that you would recommend being stopped, before naturally coming to the actions you would like the team to implement, as a way to improve the overall operation.
Providing both constructive feedback and validation is crucial to effective leadership within a remote workplace, as is the way it is delivered.
Adopting a method such as ‘Keep, Stop, Start’ enables you to firstly share the positives, before moving swiftly onto areas that could promote improvement.
5. Identify where you need to improve as a leader.
While providing feedback to your team is hugely important as a leader, you must also evaluate your own performance and identify areas that need some work. This will keep you at the top of your game and highlight your dedication to consistent improvement for the sake of your career and the company.
If there are particular areas you feel you can improve on in order to fully showcase your leadership potential, help is at hand.
At NxtGEN Executive Presence, we provide courses that will help you to stand up and stand out as a leader through clear and powerful communication. Our range of courses are tailor-made for executives who are strong in functional areas but want – and need – much more when communicating ideas, proposals and vision.