Here’s the good news! You’ve just been promoted to a manager role. Congratulations! Now here’s the not so good news. All staff are working remotely and, many of them are difficult! So, what do you do? Still want the role, or say no thanks and shoot yourself in the foot with your future career? Or, take the step, rise to the occasion as a leader and manage your new remote (difficult) team. We all have a personality, some more interesting than others and unless we understand difficult behaviours, we are not expanding our competency as a manager. I’m sure you’ve all heard of introverts and extraverts, however do we know what sits behind the personality and what every new team member needs and wants? Getting to the hidden messages in team dynamics creates powerful outcomes through effective team leadership!
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung
Challenges with Remote Working
In a HBR March 20 article “A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers,” many companies and universities have asked their employees to work remotely in response to the uncertainties presented by Covid-19. Although it is always preferable to establish clear remote-work policies and training in advance, in times of crisis this may not be feasible. Fortunately, there are specific, research-based steps that managers can take without great effort to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees, even when there is little time to prepare. To start, managers need to understand factors that can make remote work especially demanding and challenges include:
· Lack of face-to-face supervision
· Lack of access to information
· Social isolation
· Distractions at home
There are also relatively quick and inexpensive things that managers can do to ease the transition:
· Establish structured daily check-ins
· Provide several different communication technology options
· And then establish “rules of engagement”
· Provide opportunities for remote social interaction
· Offer encouragement and emotional support
Effective leaders take a two-pronged approach, acknowledging the stress and anxiety that employees may be feeling and also affirming confidence in their teams. With this support, employees are more likely to take up the challenge with a sense of purpose and focus.
Are your Remote Employees Difficult?
A Nov 2017 article “How to Handle 8 Types of Difficult Remote Employees,” shows that it is quitelikely you’ll have some difficult remote employees. When these problems arise, you will face the choice of either resolving them or firing the troublesome employee. In many cases, you can help a difficult employee overcome his challenges and become a solid member of your team. Here are eight different kinds of difficult remote employees you may encounter and ideas for how to handle them:
· The victim. Make sure your expectations are crystal clear
· The lazy one. Useproductivity tracking tools and regular check-ins
· The naysayer. Use the natural negativity to help the team achieve positive results
· The drama queen. Setclear boundaries for behaviour you won’t tolerate
· The hothead. Make your hothead understand that bad behaviour will not be tolerated
· The procrastinator. Usegood old-fashioned micromanagement
· The know-it-all. Teach how to share helpful suggestions in a more appropriate manner
· The poor communicator. Ask which communication method are preferred to use
The good news is that, in most cases, you can work with these people and help them change their bad behaviours. That best-case scenario will be beneficial for you, the worker, your team and the company.
Difficult Behaviour is solved with…………….”Kindness!”
In my blog “How to Handle Challenging Co-Workers with Kindness,” I highlighted that it’sonly natural that when you spend the majority of your week at work, the people there will get on your nerves. Whether someone is sexist, sucks up to the boss or whinges about everything, there’s bound to be someone who annoys you. There could even be a colleague that reminds you of a childhood bully; aggressive and often causing tense situations. The way we handle these difficult co-workers has a profound effect on our mental health, and our career as well. I’m all about kindness, and how it’s one of the most powerful weapons we have against the bullies and negative people of the world. Here’s how you can use kindness (and mindfulness) to deal with those colleagues that push our buttons:
· Understand Your Triggers
· Anger Isn’t An Option
· Put Yourself In Their Shoes
· Reflect On Why You Feel This Way And Learn From The Opportunity
· Show Kindness to Yourself And Your Challenging Co-workers
Remember that holding onto anger and negativity ultimately harms ourselves more than anyone else. Instead of instantly reacting to a tense situation and adding fuel to the fire, take a deep breath, put yourself in their shoes and think about what kindness you’d want someone to show you if you were in that same position. Being the bigger person is rewarding; your well-being is improved and you’re showing your leaders that you can handle conflict with ease. Have the courage to be kind, even to those who hurt you.
Leadership isn’t easy and sometimes we need help. I am always here.
Get in touch today to learn more about dealing with difficult people, managing remote workers and set yourself up for success!
Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.