Senses leaders must develop in a remote world

Leaders used to manage by ‘walk about’. Now, with remote teams, leader’s have to develop new senses to supplement what they used to see and hear in the physical workplace.

In this new world, new senses must be honed and developed. When most interactions are scheduled and when communication is reduced to tinny speakers and keyhole views, as a leader you need to develop new tools to establish connections and shape culture.

Below is a list of some senses which I advocate leaders need to develop in this current time.

A sense of identity

Amid change, the constant is yourself. You need to be the person remaining anchored in what matters while you adapt. The person who embraces change and the disruption it brings as you remain true to your timeless core values that must serve in any circumstance.

Who you are is not tied to physical space. You may have left behind an office, with its symbols of status and achievement, but regardless of location, your strong sense of identity and the values it represents are your reliable foundations, the constants that no crisis can unsettle.

A sense of curiosity

When everything is new you can be overwhelmed by it or fascinated by it. A sense of curiosity embraces fascination, that mix of awe and curiosity that appreciates the unexpected for its novelty alone. What can you discover together when you’re now interacting in unprecedented ways? With a sense of curiosity, seize the opportunity to interact with new people in a world where we can connect anytime, anywhere with a click of a mouse. And when that sense is shared across a company it unlocks a whole world of possibility.

A sense of purpose

With the pandemic has come new challenges, new societal needs. The social justice movement, the mental health crisis, overflowing A and E department, and exhausted caregivers have moved to the fore as climate change, poverty, and illiteracy have become more noticeable. At the same time, your team members are looking for something more than a salary. They are looking for purpose.

Use this time to re-define your purpose or to reignite passion in the one you have. Use the unlimited reach of a virtual world to make your purpose even more powerful and more inspiring than possible in the geographically constrained world of the past.

A sense of humour

Zoom calls fail. Family life intrudes. Stuff happens. A sense of humour lets everyone be momentarily vulnerable when awkward moments occur—and they do.

Humour is your best tool against the absurd. And this new virtual reality, despite being a by-product of a depressing pandemic, feels at times quite absurd. You can laugh at it or lose faith. When you choose to be human enough to shake your head in amusement instead of your shaking your fist in frustration, then you’ll find the common ground, the universal human connections upon which enduring cultures can be built.

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