Written by Ignacio Peña, VP of Technology at Globant
Remote work in response to today’s global health pandemic highlights the importance of finding ways to stay close—and get even closer—to the people who look to us for leadership on a daily basis.
Leaders play a key role in creating workspaces where people reach their goals and achieve amazing results. This seemingly simple statement has become my own personal mantra after almost seven years as a leader of agile teams focused on innovation at Globant. The need for effective leadership skills is more true today than ever before. The dramatic shift in how we work in recent months has brought new meaning to leadership in a crisis. As a strategy, I have focused on how to improve my leadership skills as I work to stay close to my colleagues and teammates in these times of crisis.
When Globant was created, the founders set out to build a collaborative, transparent, and highly connected organizational culture that transcends the physical limits of our offices. The framework to do this was StarMeUp OS, which allowed us to be more effective and continue motivating our employees through open and accessible communication. This employee-experience platform brought us together and kept us united as the company grew from one location (in Buenos Aires) to having over 11,000 employees in 17 countries.
As so many of us seek inspiration for ways to stay connected with our teams in this crisis, I found myself pulling together the lessons learned over the years to create my own list of the seven leadership skills Globant’s team uses to keep our business objectives on track. There is an unquestionable urgency to answer the question of how to improve leadership skills, which is why I hope this list of effective leadership skills will help you have a greater impact on your company in these times of crisis.
- Thank your team members
- Acknowledge great work
- Generate more connections
- Help your managers become true leaders
- Provide constant feedback
- Lead by example
- What gets measured gets done
Thank your team members
Published just a few months before the world began to grapple with COVID-19, our report “Empowering people-focused organizational cultures” showed that almost all employees (97%) wanted their strengths to be recognized at work.
How can we highlight and reinforce good performance? Making gratitude a frequent habit.
- Don’t push it off or leave it to another day! Value a task well done as soon as it happens.
- Keep track of who made a big impact during the week and spend 10 minutes of your Friday lunch recognizing them.
Acknowledge great work
Because recognition has such a strong direct impact on motivation and productivity levels, it is one of the most effective leadership skills you can put into practice. Stay on top of your teams’ achievements and let them know that you know what they are doing on a regular basis by acknowledging their contributions to the organization.
- Check-in with your team and colleagues at the start of every day by scrolling through your StarMeUp feed. Your team will really appreciate it when you ‘like’ and comment on their stars. They will feel empowered by it!
Generate more connections
Face-to-face interactions are on hold for now but that doesn’t mean that we can’t connect with our teams wherever they may be physically located.
- Identify those team members who have a big cultural impact on your company and organize a small virtual meeting to get to know them better. There are lots of excuses to get together: breakfast, lunch, or a friendly game of Pictionary. The sky is the limit when it comes to connecting.
- Remember that the number of stars that a person receives and sends in StarMeUp tells you who your organization’s influencers are. By reviewing the metrics captured, you can discover who represents your culture on a daily basis.
Help your managers become true leaders
By providing clear guidance about areas for improvement, you can help employees to enhance their performance and dispel any uncertainties they may feel about their job performance. At critical times like these, it is more important than ever to assess people’s competencies and skills for adapting to new scenarios.
Almost three-quarters (73%) of all leaders discover at some point in their careers that a person who directly reports them was not as effective managers as they had thought. We must strive to ensure our managers are aligned with our vision.
- Monitor your managers’ monthly activity to make sure they’re sending and receiving feedback and recognition.
- Schedule brief conversations with them where you can show them the difference they can make for their team by actively participating in their development.
Provide constant feedback
Generally, people feel limited in providing feedback to their colleagues. There can be many reasons for this: from a creative block when sitting down to write feedback to a lack of understanding of the criteria for evaluating performance.
Further complicating this situation, the number of demands requiring our attention during COVID-19 is even greater, making it increasingly complex to find a space to have conversations dedicated to the development of our teams.
At Globant, BetterMe has made the feedback process much more agile.
- Send feedback to multiple team members weekly. Set a goal and send each individual on your team a message once a month. The more feedback you initially provide, the better example you’ll set for the rest of your colleagues. Mark the rhythm by sending messages and touching base frequently with team members and they’ll follow your lead.
- Review BetterMe statistics monthly and share them in meetings with your teams to evaluate them together.
Lead by example
How do I become a better leader? The best way to motivate your people is to lead by example and show them what you’re asking them to do through your own actions.
- Amplify the number of people who see your actions by posting photos or videos on BeThere.
- Not a fan of selfies? Don’t sweat it! You can start with one post per week about a meeting, a product launch, or some important milestone. Once you see how people get excited and engage with you, it’ll be more fun and eventually become a force of habit.
What gets measured gets done
But then how can we make sure that we effectively adopt this routine?
- Turn these actions into goals and measure your progress in BetterMe!
Good leadership during a crisis should provide contention, lower anxiety, provide correct information, and connect and engage people. All that while paying attention to business.
Through good practices, with the power of technology tailored to your challenges, you can navigate any situation and inspire your talent to do their best.