3 practical leadership hacks when leading a remote workforce
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3 practical leadership hacks when leading a remote workforce

Organizational Happiness, Real Employee Engagement and Mental Health are becoming a strategic priority for many ambitious leaders and organizations. Because your business depends on it.

Lars Kure Juul
Lars Kure Juul

How to make your remote workforce happier and more engaged

Organizational Happiness, Real Employee Engagement and Mental Health are becoming a strategic priority for many ambitious leaders and organizations. Because your business depends on it.

When I advise, consult and give a helping hand to leaders and organizations on how to get from strategy to action I often build a game plan and a roadmap by diving into The Happiness Sweet Spot Model - it's simple and effective. It has a perspective on unlocking and releasing the potential that is already there. And we have good (business) cases to back it up.

The Happiness Sweet Spot and your Motivational Landscape make up an enabling platform and a framework within which to work with organizational happiness, to operationalize your strategy, and to get you from strategy to action and behavior. Some leaders call it “a strategy for people decision-making.”

To work strategically with happiness and real employee engagement in your organisation, you need to break it down and develop strategies and facilitate actions in three main areas: Purpose, Strengths & Compassion.

For the purpose of this article I'll share 3 practical leadership hacks that we have experienced to be effective when Organizational Happiness, Real Employee Engagement and Mental Health is a strategic priority you want to put action and behaviour behind - and you are managing remote workforce.

It's really about how we best unlock and release the potential we have in the organization and create a strong power of belonging. I think connection, sharing and inclusion are key words. Social Intranets such as Ziik can help with this.

Purpose

Purpose is your organizational WHY.

It’s a heartfelt “reason for being” that is bigger than profit.

When market conditions are right, companies can be successful with a pure profit purpose. But a lot of potential is released when it’s more than that.

When your purpose is clear, many other things get easier: your storytelling to customers about why to buy, attracting the best people to your organization, and more.

On the individual level your why brings meaning.

When it is really good, your organizational why resonates—does not conflict—with the personal why of the people in the organization.

  • Purpose brings meaning
  • Having a strong heartfelt purpose is a competitive advantage
  • Your purpose is your employer brand

And you need a strong purpose to attract and retain top talent. If you don’t have that, your organization will struggle and not last. 

This is also where the power of belonging lives.

For some organizations a heartfelt purpose and why comes easily and naturally. For other organizations it is a bit of a stretch to come up with a “meaningful” purpose.

Purpose in practice and #1 hack

When working with Purpose in practice with leaders and organizations, there are three areas and activities that are dominant across the gameplans and roadmaps I have helped build:

  1. Develop a very strong Employer Value Proposition (EVP). Short, sweet, and to the point.
  2. Communicate and articulate  your EVP and "Who We Are" internally and externally. 
  3. Integrate your purpose and WHY.

One of the most effective leadership behaviours (or leadership hacks) I have seen implemented in relation to Purpose and managing a remote workforce is; At every team meeting or as a weekly action, encourage someone from the team to share a specific story about a colleague who displayed our values and purpose. Share and Celebrate! Remote workforce tools such as social intranets can play an important role here.

Strength

This is really strengths-based leadership and real talent management. That means discovering people’s talents, strengths, and potential and putting them into play for your organization. For the Purpose and why I mentioned above.

Focusing on strengths and what’s working well will result in the highest employee engagement

  • Conversations about strengths reveal the superpowers in an organization.
  • Effective talent management recognizes that everybody has talent, potential, and strengths.
  • Strengths-based leadership unlocks an organization’s potential.
  • A successful talent management strategy requires simple processes and enabling tools.

It’s no surprise to you as a leader that ignorance results in the lowest engagement. A focus on problems and what’s not working, with a fix-it attitude, leads to higher engagement. But it’s not nearly as high as the engagement that is stimulated by a strengths-based leader.

Implementing strengths-based leadership is a winning strategy.

I like to call it a "Super Power Strategy".

Strengths in practice and #2 hack

When working with strengths-based leadership in practice with leaders and organizations, there are three areas and activities that are dominant across the gameplans and roadmaps I have helped build:

  1. Every employee knows their Super Powers (Strengths) and can articulate it to the team and their leader.
  2. Change the conversation in the "Yearly Performance Review" (or similar) to focus on how to put the Super Powers into play.
  3. Collect and share strong key stories where employees used their Super Powers  - in relation to all stakeholders.

One of the most effective leadership behaviours (or leadership hacks) I have seen implemented in relation to Strengths and managing a remote workforce is; At least once a week, encourage someone in the team to tell or write their own "Super Power Story" (SPS) and share and celebrate that across the organization. A Social Intranet could be a good platform to build the internal connection that can be used to facilitate this sharing and celebration.

Compassion

Cultivating a culture of compassion. It means people are interested in understanding the difficulties of other people and have a burning desire to help them.

  • Compassion and curiosity increase employee loyalty and trust.
  • Compassion boosts team performance by helping employees feel “safe”.
  • Compassion facilitates the spirit of experimentation and is critical for creativity.

The way I see it, compassion is about leadership and leadership is about compassion. If you aspire to be an effective leader, you can’t do it successfully without compassion.

Real leadership is "Compassion In Action".

Research has demonstrated that even before establishing their own credibility or competence, leaders who project warmth are more effective than those who lead with toughness.

Compassion, kindness, and warmth accelerate trust, which is a building block for performance and teamwork.

Compassion in practice and #3 hack

When working with cultivating a culture of Compassion in practice with leaders and organizations, there are three areas and activities that are dominant across the gameplans and roadmaps I have helped build:

  1. Pay attention
  2. Practice Presence (leadership training and development)
  3. Take a close look at policies and management practices

One of the most effective leadership behaviours (or leadership hacks) I have seen implemented in relation to Compassion and managing a remote workforce is; Check-in on a regular basis with employees or co-workers without an agenda and ask,

  1. "How are you doing"? 
  2. "How are you REALLY doing"?
  3. "Tell me more, please". 

As leader, be present, all-ears and leave space for that conversation. 

I think you will be surprised by the connection and compassion this little "hack" creates. I'm always amazed by the effect of these regular check-ins with a few open questions.

So what?

The Happiness Sweet Sport and your Motivational Landscape make up an enabling platform and a framework for developing and defining the right strategy for you.

Connection, sharing and inclusion are keywords when implementing strategies for Organizational Happiness, Real Employee Engagement and Well-being.

Inspiration and resources

If you want to dive deeper into this area or are looking for advice, here are some suggestions for resources and contacts:

The book Organizational Happiness . (Ask for a copy here)

Ziik guide Focus on happiness to boost employee engagement and performance.

Organisational happiness - Ziik