Remote working arrangements can make engaging teams even more challenging for leaders. Many of us are feeling increased anxiety, and that can be a big distraction when it comes to focusing on work.
“Right now, we’re in a crisis of belonging,” says Edward Sullivan, CEO of Velocity Group, an executive coaching firm focused on early-stage startups. “Not only are people staying home and dealing with challenges of the pandemic, such as the health of their loved ones and teaching and rearing children; they’re also dealing with loss of connection with coworkers. Leaders are challenged with continuing to create feelings of connectedness.”
While several companies addressed the issue at the start of the pandemic with Zoom happy hours and games, the solutions weren’t always effective. “Often these events turned into 40 people staring at each other, which felt awkward,” says Sullivan. “What is working is having smaller numbers of people getting together and leaders proactively reaching out to connect one-on-one with their employees.”
Uniting people from afar with small-group initiatives often fits with the strengths of an introverted leader, says Sullivan.