As businesses, we’re leading through unprecedented change right now. While most organizations were already experiencing a great deal of change, the current global situation requires us to rapidly adapt to new ways of connecting and working together. The way people managers support teams must also change. 

Tips for People Managers 

First, remember that you, as a manager, are an employee first. Take care of yourself, so you can best support your team. You help your employees most by remaining calm and staying connected with them. You set the tone for your team. Although it may feel different, your role as a manager in change still requires you to communicate, liaise, advocate, manage resistance, and coach your employees.

Remember CLARC:

Communicator

  • Effective communications with a fully remote team will look different. The best thing you can do is "pick up the phone.” When people are working remotely, it’s easy to rely only on email and instant messaging. Make sure that you have regular video chats or voice chats with your team to maintain connection.
  • Communication of “why” and “what’s in it for me” is critical during any type of change. As a manager, reinforce the “why” behind new practices such as remote working and social distancing through team meetings, individual check-ins and email.
  • Employees look to you for personal impacts of any type of change. As recommendations evolve, be sure to communicate what they mean specifically for the employees who report to you. Translate the organizational guidelines into the actions they need to take.
  • Increase your live connection points, even if they’re short. A 15-minute daily video huddle can keep your team stay connected and allow people to address any potential problems.

Liaison

  • As with any change, you play a role in liaising between your team and leadership about risks and issues.
  • While you should help solve one-off, individual issues immediately, keep track of common problems, so you can report issues that are affecting your entire team and help find a broader solution.
  • If there are things the organization can do differently, needs around technology, or systemic areas of support necessary to make remote working more effective, share these ideas with your leadership.
    Portrait unhappy young woman talking on mobile phone looking down. Human face expression, emotion, bad news reaction

Advocate

  • Emphasizing your organization’s mission, vision and values becomes even more critical during difficult times. As a leader, you are an advocate of these. You play a role in advocating the organization's values and strategy on a day-to-day basis, no matter what is happening in the world around us. Help keep your team stay calm and focused on moving the business forward, even as ways of working are evolving.
  • Encourage your employees to take care of themselves, take advantage of the resources available to them, and to be flexible. They need to hear from you that this time of working will look different and that is OK.

Resistance Manager

  • Check in one-on-one with your employees specifically and intentionally about potential barriers to productive remote work, including technology, space at home, and childcare. Help your team find workarounds and ways to stay productive and flexible.
  • Realize that moving to remote working will be uncomfortable for some people and will be a change process. When you encounter resistance, remain curious. Demonstrate empathy and ask questions to get at the root cause of the resistance, so you can help your employees move past barriers.
  • Ensure that your employees know how to raise and resolve technical issues quickly to limit technology-driven frustration.

Coach

  • Everyone on your team will experience the situation today differently and some will have an more easier time than others. Your ability to guide people through their own change journeys is critical.
  • As a coach to your employees, frequent check-ins will allow you to address individual needs quickly, maintain connection and trust, and foster a sense of belonging.
  • Some of your employees will be balancing unprecedented home and work responsibilities. Reassure them that you can find workable solutions. Help identify the highest-priority work and work that can be adjusted or de-prioritized.
  • Some employees will need to rapidly develop or sharpen skills to be effective at remote working. Help each employee identify the new skills, habits or practices they need and a plan to build them. Maintain regular check-ins and guide them as they develop their new personal practices to be successful remotely.

Care for Yourself and Your People

We encourage you to take good care of yourself so you can continue to support your team. We’re working through unprecedented times, and your role as a leader of change is critical. Although this is an opportunity to adapt unlike any we have seen before, CLARC can still help you accomplish your goals.


Use our free worksheet to help your people make a successful change to remote work: 

Download the Fillable PDF


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Written by
Susie Taylor
Susie Taylor

Susie Taylor is a passionate advocate of personal and organizational change. As a Change Advisor for Prosci, she partners with organizations to implement change management strategies that drive adoption and results while fostering a positive employee experience. She has a master's degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she has also served as an instructor.