If you’ve invested in a Talent Optimization platform like The Predictive Index®, the good news is you have data on how your team will respond to their new remote work environment as well as your leadership strategy.
As my colleague Mandy recently wrote for the Indianapolis Business Journal, it’s critical to remember the basics about your team and what they each need as individuals. The PI Behavioral Assessment provides an accurate statistics-based measurement of what motivates each individual and what innate needs drive their behavior in the workplace. Those needs don’t change just because employees are working from a home office. So, get back to the basics and understand how you can help meet your employees’ needs in this new working environment. By focusing on this as a leader, you’ll experience benefits such as increased productivity and engagement — even while working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remember that a person’s highest drives (Dominance, Extraversion, Patience and Formality) will motivate how your employee responds to working at home. Here is a quick reminder of basic innate needs based on highest PI drive and an actionable leadership tip to help you lead and engage your team during this shift to a remote work culture.
Highest A (Dominance)
- Needs: Control and impact on the end result.
- Leadership Tip: Pose a challenge to your Highest A employees. Let them share input and set them free to pursue a new strategy that works for a remote setting. Avoid the urge to micro-manage these individuals and reinforce the autonomy that comes with working remotely while doubling down on the results-based measures of success. Ask them what they think could be possible given the new setting and let them own an initiative you both feel can drive the best outcome for your company or your customers. Better yet, create a work-from-home competition that measures a hopeful outcome or result and watch your Highest A push for that win.
Highest B (Extraversion)
- Needs: Connection, social interaction and recognition for their work.
- Leadership Tip: Make time to check in with a video call (Teams, Facetime, Zoom, etc…). If you start discussing a work topic or project that involves other team members, make it a group video call. Keep your eye on the output and progress of work and share those kudos on the all company Slack channel. Specifically call out great work Highest B employees are doing from the home office and be sure to reply to a great customer email with a CC to a top executive as you thank your High B employee for a job well done. The extra social exposure, connection and praise will go a long way. And, don’t forget to shoot your High B employees a text, ask how they’re doing and empathize first before offering coaching or suggestions.
Highest C (Patience)
- Needs: Stability and familiarity with the new pace of work (from home).
- Leadership Tip: Ask them about any processes or habits that normally anchor their work day. How can you help them find that particular rhythm and keep those processes stable from home? If they’re unfamiliar with your video conferencing or productivity apps, offer to simulate their common uses of these tools free of any pressure or performance expectation. Pre-set expected check in times and when you connect by phone or video, turn off all the distractions and give these High C rock stars your undivided attention. Try to avoid the unexpected check-ins that interrupt their day. Help them reframe their work into steps or phases and then use your check-ins to ask about progress to completion. Lastly, don’t forget to send them a note thanking them for their calming, consistent approach to the new work environment.
Highest D (Formality)
- Needs: Clear expectations and timely feedback.
- Leadership Tip: Set up open lines of communication with these employees and be specific about where (Dropbox, Salesforce, etc…) or who they can turn to for the information they will need. Be clear about expectations surrounding the at-home work setting and what will be measured in terms of success and productivity. Pay attention to the quality of the work from these team members thank them often. Do you have back-burner projects that never seem to get done because of the volume of internal and external meetings? Use this time of decreased in-person meetings to ask your High D employees to tackle these projects. As Max Yoder wrote in his book, Do Better Work, encourage the practice of “sharing before you’re ready.” This will give you as a leader the chance to give timely and specific feedback and keep the task-focused energy on point and productive.
This rare and unfortunate pandemic could quickly throw your work culture into upheaval. Remember, as a leader, you are the window through which your employees will view the company culture and reaction to this new reality. Don’t panic, stay calm and remember the basics of what your people need.
By leveraging tools like PI and understanding your employees’ most basic needs, you can find the silver lining amongst the chaos. The best leaders will demonstrate they can adapt to the needs of their team, create an engaging remote work culture, and keep employee engagement strong.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to create an engaged and inspired remote workforce culture, watch this recording of a recent webinar with ADVISA’s President Heather Haas.
And, be sure to check out ADVISA’s Top Leadership Development Reads for 2020.