Do you need to see your team at their desks to trust they’re doing the work?

Be honest, are you a tiny bit uncomfortable with your staff working from home, out of sight, where you can’t see them?

You wouldn’t be the only one. Let’s face it, many of us come from an environment where our time behind the desk equals our value as an employee, how productive we are, etc. 

It’s difficult to make the new shift to seeing productivity as separate from time behind the desk. But it’s very much time to do that. Particularly when people are navigating a lot more than work.

I don’t need to tell you that the outcomes are often not dependent on how long you’ve been staring at a computer or working on somehting.

But how to make the shift to trusting your staff to deliver expected outcomes without physically demonstrating that.

It’s quite easy actually…

Kristy-Lee Billett from The Footprint Group and I talked about this and we both agreed on three fundamental things you can focus on to support you and your team as the way we work shifts.

  1. First, get clear on what success looks like in the role. Don’t take existing practices for granted. Question everything, be realistic, and stick to the outcomes versus the time.
  2. Communicate – have conversations about it. Involve the person – does your idea of success in the role coincides with theirs? Once you’ve agreed on it, go back and check in. Is it working as you both hoped it would? Does it need tweaking? Is it realistic? Involving your team in the process and empowering them to define it with you helps them take ownership of that success.
  3. Have strong KPIs or measures – and no, not wishy washy vague ones that you only check once or twice a year. Have clear, relevant KPIs or measures that are linked to the outcomes you need.  And check in on them regularly.

If you’re both clear on what the expected outcomes are, your team members have the option to do the work at times that suit them, particularly in the environment we’re all navigating, with homeschooling and repeated lockdowns a part of the picture. That might be 3pm to 8pm for some people and from 5.00 am for others. As long as they’re able to come to critical meetings, and deliver the outcomes you both agreed on, then that’s what you should focus on as a leader.

Most people take pride in their work and want to be part of something bigger than themselves. And a good team will take responsibility for what they want to achieve. Trusting them to do that will build a culture of trust in the whole team. 

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