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Expert tips for team leaders with a newly remote workforce

Your team is working from home now, so how you engage with them must evolve. Three words: Make it personal.

Teams used to face-to-face relationships are now navigating the challenges of working and collaborating remotely, but we're in this together. To help shed some light on the unfamiliar, we've begun collecting tips from our colleagues and friends on how they are navigating during this uncertain time.

This week's question was on how to lead and motivate teams that are unaccustomed to working from home. Here are the first responses:

Kirk Bresniker, Hewlett Packard Labs chief architect, HPE fellow, VP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

"Take the extra time to schedule both group and one-to-ones, with video, if possible, so you can read the whole person, not just hear the well-practiced teleconference voice. It doesn't have to be a long conversation, but make it as frequent as your team needs."

Robert Christiansen, VP, strategy, office of the CTO, hybrid IT, HPE

"Always start your meetings with a check-in. See how people are feeling, give them room to talk, and listen to what they are saying. Right now, people are scared and need someone to hear them. Be that ear."

Dian Hansen, worldwide platforms and automation lead, HPE

"I was reminded today by one of my engineers that the most effective ways to motivate each other, help each other deal with this situation, are grassroots driven, not top down. I'm working to ensure my team is hearing the clear, transparent, and supportive communication coming from our execs and then getting out of the way, allowing them to work together and determine what they need right now and how to create and deliver it."

Tom Golway, chief technologist, HPE

"The context of working remote is vastly different right now, so the answer needs to be different. I'll answer this using part of a blog I wrote about how the strength of a leader is really defined: To me, empathy is the single most important trait of a leader. A leader needs to make others feel good about themselves, about their company, and about the importance of their contributions to the good of the company."

Matthew Naunton, worldwide GreenLake sales, HPE

"Keep email use short and sweet! Encourage the teams to pick up the phone or use the collaboration tools like Zoom and Skype to ensure social interaction within the team is continued. We have had a team WhatsApp for a number of years now, and it is great for the informal chat, sharing what we are doing or a joke or two. Be positive and have fun. There really isn't much that can't be achieved remotely over the coming weeks."

Bonus tip: Reduce hour-long meetings to 45 minutes. This gives people breathing room to check on kids or just not be back to back all day.

More to come ... Stay tuned!

Related reading:

Building a dynamic digital workplace that will address today’s challenges and stand the test of time

This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.