The best ways to discover what makes people tick is with helping them understand themselves.
This is true whether we are working in a face to face office but especially true when working in a remote or mobile office environment.
Having people working from different locations can help us in so many ways. We can maximise the use of timezones to get work down around the clock, pull in diverse skill sets and talent that you might not have easy access to, give flexibility back to employees and use it as a way to reduce expensive overheads like real estate costs.
But years of research into self- awareness, and emotional intelligence has only sort to reinforce what Socrates and Shakespeare already told us; ‘Know thyself’ and ‘this above all: to thy own self be true’
As a small business, we work with virtual teams, pulling in skills and abilities from all over the world to help build and deliver a product.
To do this effectively, we need a somewhat different set of collaborative and leadership skills to manage all the remote players who come and go from our story.
In the end, it is less about the technology platform and more about how you use it to understand the people on it.
Workplaces that are in a rush to develop flexible distributed teams need to invest in expanding a leader’s ‘e’ skills so they can build and maintain a virtual climate that is supportive and enabling employees, whether they be remote or not, to be successful.
A Leader’s level of self-awareness, how in tune with their own personal skills, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses is a critical part of these skills. Leading a successful remote team also requires a higher level of empathetic, emotionally intelligent, that is sensitive to what others need and a willingness to provide the tools necessary for success.
You can’t just build a measurable goal or mission statement and then not provide the support, communication and empowerment to get there. To do that is just asking for trouble in any team but especially a virtual team.
Self-awareness is the key to a flexible workforce. However, organisations need to place a high value on it if they want to harness its power.
Rather than building extensive job descriptions or recruiting someone that matches it, we should be looking for people with the right fundamental qualities. Organisations should then focus more on helping them to develop and growth of their talent rather than just seek and find approach.
Building a collaborative workplace with remote workers hinges on understanding people – whether it be a new hire or long-time employee.
But the best ways to discover what makes people tick is with helping them understand themselves.