How To Be An Effective Leader When Starting A New Job Remotely
· Create your own induction plan
· Don’t fill the diary, leave time for reflection
· Consider your personal brand and online presence
· Communication is key for a culture of transparency
Moving into a new company as an executive can be challenging. You’re often viewed as an outsider, and you have to take some time to build up the social capital you need to be effective. However, all the techniques for doing that are rendered impossible when you’re all working remotely. You can’t just wander the halls and soak up the atmosphere of your new workplace.
To help you get up and running as quickly as possible, here are the tools that the most influential executives are using when they make a move to a company that’s working remotely.
Pre-Boarding Is The New First Step
You will probably have gone through an onboarding process at least once in your career already, so you probably know to expect that. However, with the shift to remote working pre-boarding has now become a more significant and vital step.
If you want to hit the ground running, you need to step into your new role with as much knowledge and understanding as you can. That means you need to be methodical about getting as much information as possible from your contacts with the company before your start date.
By starting remotely, you can’t rely on soaking up the context of your workplace over coffee or by wandering the halls. Getting as much information before you start is the best way to overcome this deficit.
An excellent resource to ask for at this point is access to recordings of recent key meetings. With everything now done virtually, this is something you may be able to get hold of. Watching a meeting in your new company is a quick way to get a feel for the people you’ll be working with. It’s also an ideal way to get some insight into team dynamics and learn your new company’s processes.
Leave Space In Your Calendar
When all your meetings are taking place virtually, it can be tempting to pack your calendar with back to back meetings. After all, you don’t have to worry about finding your way to the next meeting room. But, it’s a good idea to leave space between meetings intentionally. This is true all the time, but especially during your first few weeks.
The space between meetings will give you the chance to properly absorb and reflect on what you’ve heard. It’s a good time to jot down notes and thoughts, something you might not do as much in a virtual meeting.
This chance to reflect on what you’re learning has two main benefits.
Firstly it will allow you to absorb the information much more quickly. You won’t get overloaded as swiftly and need to get information repeated to you.
Secondly, it gives you space to develop your ideas. With a small amount of time to reflect, you can move past your reaction and instead develop insight and actions.
Curate Your Online Presence
There is no doubt that people will judge you based on what they can see through your camera. Take some time to make sure that what is presented reflects you as a professional. A clean background is a good option to start with. Unless you have a clear idea of what you want your personal brand to be with your new team, it can help to start with a neutral presence.
This is not to say that it’s unprofessional to have these things on view. After all, it can be quite humanising to have a peek inside your CEOs home. However, when you are new to the company, you need to make sure that you build the image that you’re happy for your new team members to see. It’s well worth taking some time to think about that first impression that you want to give.
Get To Know Your Team
It’s vital that you make an effort to get to know your team on a personal level. This means that you might need to arrange a group video call or some virtual social activity. If your company has arranged something as part of your onboarding process, then make sure that you engage with the event. These things can feel a little stilted, so you need to make an effort to break the ice.
As well as an informal group event, you will want to schedule one-to-one or small team meetings with everyone you will be managing. This gives you the chance to meet everyone properly and to put names to faces. It will also make everyone in your team feel that they have the basis of a personal bond with you.
Get To Know Your Peers and Manager
When you’re not in an office, you need to be intentional about getting to know everyone around you. It might seem obvious to meet your team, but it’s also important to make appointments to get to know those around and above you.
Without the ability to pop down the hall to pick someone’s brain, you need to make formal arrangements. When you’re new, you don’t know what you don’t know. That means you need to build opportunities to ask questions of people best placed to give you answers. Other executives at the same level as you are often the best resource for this.
It can help determine who their go-tos are, who are the cogs that keep the business running and the departments that link to yours. There may be certain specialists in the business that will be instrumental to the business but may not directly relate to your department. These people are still well worth talking to, even if they’re not immediately included in your induction.
Build A Culture Of Transparency
Remote workplaces are very different from working in an office. A lot of the cues that help you to manage your team are absent. You can’t easily notice that someone is struggling and needs to be given a boost or some support. To support your teams properly as a leader, you need them to communicate with you.
To get the kind of communication you need from your team, you also need to model transparent communication. This makes it safe for your team to confide in you. In meetings, you can share information about yourself. This doesn’t need to be a full biography, but a few strategic, seemingly off-hand comments that help build trust and rapport. With these sorts of comments, you can normalise disclosure of information about physical or emotional problems that can impact productivity.