Collaborative Leadership in a Virtual World

The global pandemic has seen a large majority of employees move to home working. And this looks set to continue for some time with many employees stating that they would prefer to work from home for at least a large part of the week. It is also likely that many organisations will look at reducing office space now that they have witnessed how home working can work for their business.

Home working teams can be particularly challenging for leaders and managers.

  • How do they keep up the team working spirit whilst working virtually?
  • How do they ensure that staff morale is high and that members of the team are not feeling isolated?
  • How do they keep up productivity of the team in such an environment?

Leaders and managers have had to rise to these challenges and do this quickly. And the answer to dealing with these challenges is often this: set up regular virtual team meetings and 1-1 phone calls with team members. Ensure leaders/managers are present, available, visible throughout the day. That they are there to listen, to advise, to direct even if this is done virtually.

But there is something that suffers as a result of these additional challenges and that is, the leader/manager’s own professional support network. With an increasing focus on support to staff and teams, there is likely to be a decrease in leaders and managers supporting each other and a decrease in collaborative leadership. There is also inevitably less time to focus on personal development and growth. Leaders and managers are currently in fight mode, dealing with everyone’s issues and putting theirs aside. This can be only be effective as a short-term solution and let’s face it, this is no longer a short-term interim period. Without organisations investing in leadership support and in creating a space for collaborative leadership during these tricky times, they risk being faced with demotivated, stressed, isolated leaders unable to serve their teams.

Why is collaboration in leadership important?

If there was ever a time for organisations to invest in collaborative leadership, it is now. During the times we are facing, it is crucial that our leaders have access to a support network, have space to problem solve, to grow as individuals. And this should not simply be through an occasional phone call or meeting to a colleague or line manager to “vent or to offload”. This should be done regularly, with structure and within an environment to promote shared learning, support and challenge and growth of individuals and the group itself.

Now is the time and the opportunity to bring groups of peer leaders together facing similar challenges and create collaborative leadership networks within organisations. To create an environment of trust amongst peer leaders and give them a space where they can present difficult work problems to their peers and be supported by their questions and challenges to help reach key actions that they can own and put in place. A space to reflect and learn with other leaders and move away from the ‘silos’ that are inevitably returning.

Creating collaborative leadership

At Questline, our development packages are centred on creating the environment and culture for collaborative leadership. Our approach allows like-minded leader and managers to come together, to share problems and reach meaningful conclusions and solutions. They help solve real issues in real time but also develops leaders to be better equipped to deal with future challenges. Our packages are cost effective, can be done virtually and will go on as a way of working and learning way past the initial investment of a facilitated programme.

The global pandemic has brought on some very big challenges for our leaders, but it can also provide organisations with the key opportunity to create the most effective support network for leaders, true collaborative leadership so that leaders can come together and rise to these challenges.

To organise a free consultation and discuss how Questline’s collaborative leadership programmes can benefit your organisation, contact us.

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