Jerônimo do Valle
For those who occupy a leadership position, the new dynamics of professional relationships, established after the consolidation of remote work, tends to provoke a real convulsion in natural instincts. The absence of physical proximity limits the efficiency of task distribution, favors social withdrawal, makes it difficult to control performance and, of course, encourages disorganization.
As if that weren't enough, the person in charge risks to get lost amid this whirlwind of new challenges, striving – unproductively – to compensate for the lack of direct contact. Thus, project managers, department heads and entrepreneurs are seen calling - or attending - meetings at inappropriate times, frantically responding to chat & email messages, in record time, even if they come after 11PM. Driven by the intention of motivating employees and demonstrating that they are “full steam ahead”, most overload their schedules and sacrifice their private lives. This scenario reaches countless professionals in remote leadership positions, however, it is not an unalterable picture. By following some basic measures, it is possible to regain the control and organization that were left in the office and, thus, reinvent yourself efficiently.
The first recommendation is perhaps the most important; learn to prioritize. Deciding what is most valuable thing to use the available time is the first step towards spending it wisely - and as a bonus, when this happens, the professional is less likely to be burned out and dissatisfied in other areas. A relevant strategy would be to always save the end of the day (or week) to evaluate the progress of the objectives and establish a schedule for the search for solutions - within the intended time frame - thus anticipating possible problems, before they become insurmountable obstacles.
Second, but not least, comes technology. Even the most stubborn users of traditional methods should, at least, try to find project management technology tools – preferably free or low-cost. With a wide range of options available, there is sure to be one that fits your workflow and thus streamlines your entire administrative routine. Most of these tools contain features such as “productivity reports” – accessible via the cloud – that serve to understand how the contingent is engaging in tasks, regardless of whether they are in the office or working from home. This ultimately leads to the sharing of best practices and workflow improvements across the organization.
The “extra”, here, is that the leader can share what is being learned with his collaborators and optimize the entire office/company functioning for the digital world, moving towards progress and drastically increasing the team's productivity.
A third and final point, of vital importance, although neglected by many in all sectors, is the cultivation of the ability to know how and when to say “no”. It can be very difficult to turn down opportunities and tasks, especially when you need to encourage and motivate everyone around you, but this is a quick path to burnout.
It is imperative that the leader clearly understands his role in the company, understands – without the slightest doubt – the objective he is trying to achieve, however, he needs to know how to recognize what is important, inside and outside the work, before agreeing to accept any new responsibility. Eliminating excess is the first step in controlling time management and it's actually a lot harder than it sounds, as it requires the professional to realize, respect, and communicate their own boundaries.
In this regard, another positive consequence is that the team itself must start to imitate this type of self-discipline. It's a good sign that they do it.
Anyway, the act of working remotely is, indeed, a challenge to be overcome. However, managing it to the point of becoming a well-liked, productive and balanced leader is possible. The need for a family life with quality moments does not need to supplant productivity and professional progress, after all, as history never tires of demonstrating, both routines are just part of what it means to be “human”.