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Three tips for effective leadership in lockdown

With increasing lockdown restrictions in place at the start of 2021, it’s easy to fall into Zoom gloom, Teams tiredness or Google Hangout hang-ups. Here’s a few tips to help you have meaningful interactions with your team but not feel exhausted at the end of each day.

Tip 1 – Give yourself a break

Remember when you didn’t go to everything that you were invited to? Maybe you couldn’t physically get to the meeting or you had to prioritise one thing over another? We can still do that… we can still say no.

We can say ‘no’ to filling the day with back-to-back meetings (forgetting to schedule in lunch, coffee or even more embarrassing, toilet breaks). Or we could say ‘no’ to attending meetings that don’t have clear agendas and outcomes, and ‘no’ to calls to talk about more calls. Saying ‘no’ will ensure you have some ‘free time’ in your calendar – because we all know that free time doesn’t mean you’re sat doing nothing, it means doing the daily operating tasks that need doing – like emails, returning phone calls, or some breathing space to just think.

Just because we’re working from home and travel is at an all-time low for most of us, it doesn’t mean we don’t need a break, even a little one now and then. So, how can we do this?

Instead of using a video call… do your 1-2-1s by phone (rest your face). Instead of scheduling a meeting for 60 minutes (cause that’s a tidy number and looks pretty in your calendar) – schedule them for 45 minutes and take a 15-minute break from the screen.

Zoom fatigue is a real thing and here are some top tips from Prevention on how to overcome it.

Tip 2 – Remember to be social

One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the lack of general chit chat and banter around the office. We have less time for light bonding and chatting as a team, especially because it has to be scheduled in.

So, make sure to schedule in social only events (yes, online, sorry). There are loads of online gaming sites that are suitable for small teams like JackboxGames which offer online Pictionary, quizzes and more.

Do some online cooking – send out a list of ingredients to your team in advance and then cook together – explaining the recipe one step at a time. Where you can (and where it’s allowed) – meet outdoors – for a walk or a catch-up.

Ask different people to take lead of activities so that you get a variety of options and everyone has a chance to take the lead – or consider appointing a ‘social secretary’ to plan activities for the team.

Want more ideas? This article from Museumhack has some great suggestions for online team activities.

Not quite comfortable with going fully social? How about starting some of your meetings with something personal – try these discussion starters/questions:

  • How full is your tank 0-10 (how are you feeling today) and why?
  • What was the best thing that’s happened so far today/this week/this year?
  • What is the one song that always makes you dance/sing along?
  • What is going to be your biggest personal achievement this year?
  • Who has had the biggest impact on your life so far and why?
  • What’s something most people think is true about you, but isn’t?
  • In your house, which room/area is your favourite?

Tip 3 – Remember that you’re leading - for yourself and for others

In all of this, your team will be looking to you to lead (by example). Are you showing the qualities of a good business leader?

Take care of yourself, be honest about what you can and cannot do, and be kind to yourself about your limitations. It’s perfectly ok to be vulnerable and ask for help – possibly even more so now. Use your coach and your TAB board as support, keep to a routine (making sure you leave the office, even if it’s in the dining room), get some exercise, eat and drink well and take time to plan ahead.

This article from bmmagazine offers more ideas on how to lead well in lockdown.

Bonus tip – give out more lolly pops. What does that mean? Watch this short TED Talk about everyday leadership to find out!

If you have ideas that you’d like to share about any of the topics listed above… head over to TAB Connect on the Business Builders Blueprint and join the discussion. Links are below:

How is your leadership changing because of lockdown?

Online Social Activities for teams (remote workers, those in lockdown etc)


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