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What to do if your Manager Can’t Lead Remotely?

What do we do if we are being lead by someone who can’t lead remotely or virtually effectively?

They say people leave their managers not their jobs. However, during times like these it is challenging to leave either. We have all worked with bad managers and when we work with a great manager – we notice the different don’t we! This is why during this time it is imperative to learn the skills and tools around self-leadership and leading upwards (aka I might have a useless manager).

All of a sudden, we are now working from home, remotely, virtually or maybe with skeleton staff in the office and we don’t really know how to lead or work this way. It’s now our new norm.

It takes a different set of skills and tools to lead and be led remotely. What do we do when we work with a manager who can’t lead remotely (or even face to face for that matter)?

The ability to lead upwards is critical as remember leadership isn’t a role or title it’s an attitude, mindset and action.

1.    Start with self. I always say the more self-aware you are of yourself, the more aware you are of others. In turn, by knowing what makes you tick and understanding your leadership with benefit you tenfold. Also make sure you look after yourself as it is important that you learn how to be kind, courageous and resilience during this time.

2.    Get to know your manager. Find out what makes them tick and what matters and motivates them. Listen to their words and what they talk about. Be aware of what creates emotions in them. Get to know their communication and working styles and pressures.

3.    Set regular or weekly one on one catch ups. I hear this a lot where my clients we work with or coach will say – “isn’t it up to my manager to arrange the catch up’s?” No. You need to take the lead if they haven’t already.

4.    Be proactive. Get to know the expectations and goals of your manager and ask if you can work on extra tasks or projects to help. If your manager forgets to arrange a daily huddle or virtual team meeting – you do it!

5.    Put yourself in their shoes. Empathy and compassion can go a long way. You might not know what your manager is dealing with or going through so if things are not happening or their actions have changed, ask if you can help.

6.    Be the change you want to see. If your manager is leading effectively or doesn’t have the skills and confidence, then step up and lead yourself and those around you.

7.    Invest in your own self development. I coach a lot of emerging and future leaders who find that their manager doesn’t do the same. There are lots of reasons this might be however you take control of your own learning and share it with them and your team.

8.    Have the conversation. I know if my team felt I wasn’t leading them effectively I would want to know. Sometimes as managers we can get caught up in the big picture or crisis at hand and forget the details or the people, we are leading. Have the courage and kindness to speak up and say something. Being clear is being kind. In turn, do not white ant your manager and have constructive and courageous conversations with those around you. Don’t say anything to those around you about your manager that you wouldn’t say to them face to face.

9.    Focus on our circle of control and influence. It can be frustrating to work with a manager who doesn’t lead effectively and if it impacts your work and your team, you may need to have a discussion with them or take it further. However, if you find any discussion doesn’t create a change then don’t focus your energy and frustration on the situation, focus it on what you can control and influence. You. Attention goes, energy flows and focus on how you can be a better version of you for yourself and your team. In turn, your team will need your leadership!

10. Use this time as a learning experience. You can always learn just as much from a bad manager than a great one. You will start to learn what not to do and this could be a powerful learning experience.

The ability to lead upwards is definitely a skill and an important one of that.

If you would love to know more about our Online Programs, Coaching, Resources and Courses, email the team at letschat@mcdonaldinc.com.au or find out more here at https://www.mcdonaldinc.com.au/

Our free membership and virtual keynotes are listed here too at https://sonia-mcdonald.mykajabi.com/courageous-leadership-program-general-launch-1

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