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How Leaders Can Call for Return To Office Without De-motivating Their People Using T.I.E.

By Delores (Dee) Conway posted in Leading Remote Teams, Return To Office (RTO), Hybrid Work Environment

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Leaders don’t force people to follow, they invite them on a journey” – Charles S. Lauer

This article is co-authored by Dee Conway and Bridget Russell, Ed.D.

There’s been a great deal of dialogue on the return to office (or RTO). From business need, to timing, to individual impacts, the discussion has been… robust, to put it lightly.

But what if you as a leader are considering whether it’s time for your team to return. There are a ton of angles to this issue, so before you make a decision and present your people with a potentially shocking ultimatum, take some time to consider the individual factors, and then TIE it all together into a more presentable package.

Part 1: Tie down your reasoning—Challenge your mindset and leader behaviors

The first question to ask is “why now?” Take a pause and reflect on why you are asking your people to return to the office. The reasons may seem obvious to you—perhaps even to your team—but those feelings aren’t always so easily communicated to all levels of the organization.

Perhaps it isn’t obvious. If that’s the case, then it’s time to start asking some more serious questions about RTO or Hybrid:

  1. Why now? What is happening that makes the proposed timing ideal?
  2. Who benefits from having everyone back in the office? Are these benefits tangible, business-critical, and backed by data… or are they more anecdotal?

There are no right or wrong answers to the questions above. They simply help leaders in examining the business case for RTO, then challenging old ways of thinking that may interfere with an unbiased view of what is business-critical.

Part 2: Tie your teams together to create one unified culture.

A great many businesses tout “culture” as one of their highest values, yet don’t stop to consider some of the most critical aspects in shaping a culture. A company’s culture isn’t defined by holiday get-togethers or annual ice cream socials; it’s defined by the daily behavior of its people.

Additionally, a company’s culture absolutely cannot be split between remote workers and those returning to the office. That kind of duality only breeds resentment and will not last long-term. Leaders can’t properly inspire others or make lasting change without tying remote and hybrid working cultures together as one. Start with a T.I.E.: Trust, Inclusion, and Empowerment.

Trust

Establish and role model trust with your team by

  • Establishing ways of working, including check-ins for specific work and removing barriers to performance
  • Engage in dialogue about the why and what, not the how
  • Catch people doing it “right” and provide reinforcement
Inclusion

Challenge yourself as a leader to engage in daily acts of inclusion. Whether your team is remote, in the office, or hybrid, what can you do to get to know them better?

  • How can you showcase their ideas or seek their expertise?
  • How can you provide opportunities through coaching or mentorship?
  • How can you, as a leader reinforce others engaging in daily acts of inclusion?
Empowerment

Meet with your team and align on where they are empowered to complete a series of tasks or make decisions

  • Allow your team to work independently and communicate what you will do to support them
  • Providing coaching and support
  • Be open to feedback for new ideas and new ways of doing things

Bringing people back into the office, continuing to work from anywhere, or any combination of the two requires behaviors to be shaped over a long period of time. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to make every employee happy with the RTO or hybrid circumstances, but fostering an environment of trust, inclusion, and empowerment can spark Discretionary PerformanceSM.

Discretionary Performance occurs when people don’t just have to do work, they want to. Striving for that kind of employee engagement is understandable, but getting there is difficult, and may require some assistance… Tying together any amount of people and forming a unified, engaged culture is no easy task. Who will TIE your organization together as one team?


Are you ready to take your employees on the journey back to the office?  

 

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Leadership Behaviors that Drive High-Performance in a Hybrid Workplace

By Brian Cole, Ph.D. posted in Leading Remote Teams, Managing Remotely

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According to the 2021 Annual Report from the World Trend Index, 73% of employees want flexible remote work options to be maintained, even after the pandemic has passed us by. Furthermore, 66% of leaders have considered redesigning office spaces for hybrid work.

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Work-from-Anywhere Survey  Uncovers Some Surprising Pros and Cons

By ALULA posted in Working Remote, Leading Remote Teams, Managing Remotely

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Coauthored by: Karen Gorman and Jessica Miller

Kitchen tables, make-shift computer trays on car consoles, scribbling notes on the back of napkins… Working arrangements in 2020 looked a lot different due to the pandemic’s impact. We toughed it out one video call at a time, but all the while our mindset of what was “normal” was shifting and evolving, and so was the mindset of the global workforce. We truly are in a work-from-anywhere world now and like many of you, ALULA was curious about the impacts of that dramatic shift.

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What Leaders Need to Continue to Do Well, as Companies Extend Working Remote

By ALULA posted in Leadership, Working Remote, Leading Remote Teams, Work from Home, Managing Remotely

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While we all see light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, one thing that will not end anytime soon is managing and engaging a remote work force.

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Sustaining High Performance in a Work-From-Anywhere World – How’s Your Company Doing?

By ALULA posted in Leadership, Operational Excellence, Change Management, Leading Remote Teams, Organizational Transformation, Change

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ALULA is conducting a survey of business leaders across many industries to analyze and understand the impact of the various changes in work environments on employee performance. And we are asking for your participation.

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Trusting Your Remote Teams to Do the Right Things (Even When No One is Looking)

By Ken Wagner, Ph.D. posted in Leadership, Communicating with Teams, Working Remote, Leading Remote Teams, Managing Remotely

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“How do I know my remote team is just as productive as when I was able to see them in the office?”

“How do I know they are doing the right things in the right way? Are there metrics I can use?”

“How can I be sure my remote employees are fully engaged, even though I’m not around?”

I’m hearing these questions a lot as remote work has become the “new way of work.” As a leader, what can you do? Do you use keystroke counters and always-on cameras to see them—because you can’t fully trust them? Or, maybe you should “trust but verify?” Or, “trust and hope for the best?”

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Digital Transformation Has Gained a Whole New Momentum - Can you Make the Most of It?

By Danielle Geissler, Ph.D. posted in Leadership, Innovation, Change Management, Culture, Working Remote, Leading Remote Teams, Work from Home, Managing Remotely

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The advent and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting need for many people to work remotely has accelerated the use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technology to solve business problems. Whether it has been the use of ever advancing technology like ZOOMSM or Microsoft® TEAMS or the fast-tracking of more complex technological processes like Telehealth, businesses are radically re-thinking how they are using technology, people and processes to survive and thrive in the current economy.

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Leading in Times of Change: Themes From a Panel of Influential Leaders

By Danielle Geissler, Ph.D. posted in Leadership, Team Building, Culture, Communicating with Teams, Working Remote, Leading Remote Teams, Managing Remotely

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Recently I had the pleasure of moderating the first-ever virtual Women in Leadership panel at the American Biomanufacturing Summit. The panel consisted of senior female leaders of Allakos Inc, Amgen, bluebird bio, Roche, and Sangamo Therapeutics, Inc. Each of them brought a different and rich set of experiences and knowledge to the virtual table.

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Motivating Your Teams When You Are in Different Locations

By Brian Cole, Ph.D. posted in Leadership, Leading Remote Teams, Managing Remotely

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When I coach leaders, I often discuss how to keep people motivated. But COVID-19 has added a twist: “How can I motivate my teams—both in-office and remotely?” How do you keep people motivated when you’re not in the same building?

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How Leaders Can Ensure High-Performance in Uncertain Times

By Danielle Geissler, Ph.D. posted in Leadership, Leading Remote Teams, Managing Remotely

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Much has been written about life during COVID, including the endless Zoom conferences, challenges with work/life balance and homeschooling, and the unusual work-from-home situation that forced family members to spend more time than usual together. On the work front, people describe how working from home has muddied the waters on roles and responsibilities. Communication and decision-making have become much more complicated.

A client recently asked: How do I lead my team effectively when we’re never in the same space, and many things can’t be done the way we used to do them? How do I consider each team member’s personal challenges, while still creating an environment for high performance? What does high performance even mean right now?

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