Working alone, in a group, as a leader
With the coronavirus taking hold here in Seattle, we're working on a WFH model across our team to help "self isolate" and do our part to keep the spread of the virus low.
And while I've generally loved getting the chance to work from home--given it happens so infrequently, it's a wholly different experience to have EVERYONE remote, working on their own schedules and dealing with their own issues at home--whether that's a child, a dog, or the repairman stopping by.
What I'm learning is that the face-to-face contact that I miss is making me far less impactful. Not that I'm staring death-rays at people, but that I can see their body language, catch their eye with a nod, and read the group dynamics. You can't do that on webcams.
So we move to other ways--slacking people intentionally to see how their day is going; getting into group chats, arranging coffees to meet-up--whatever it takes, focusing on maintaining that cohesion as a group which is now inherently weaker.
Much like all leadership challenges, this one is exercising new muscles--patience, in waiting for a response; assuming best intent from an email that's worded more strongly than the subject feels like it merits; and people being out of touch and not easily hunted down--back to the patience thing.
I'm hopeful that after these few weeks that we'll actually emerge stronger as a team--and that we haven't lost it at home--and that I'll have picked up some leadership skills that I either didn't know I needed or some that haven't been used in a long time!