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Leadership Development

Leadership is All About Relationships When Leading Virtually

Are you managing relationships while leading virtually?

When Leading Virtually, Increase Employee Competence and Confidence by Building Trusting Relationships

The leader of today is no longer the lone hero who can do it all. It’s critical for leaders now to encourage collaborative, productive team relationships while leading virtually. To be successful, a leader must be able to bring out the best in each team member and the team as a whole. One of the key practice areas effective leaders demonstrate is Enable Others to Act, which focuses on the importance of building trust and relationships within the team.

With 35 years of research, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have shown in The Leadership Challenge how leaders can practice leadership behaviors to be more successful, improve employee engagement, and increase their organization’s performance.

From their research, Enabling Others to Act stresses the importance of two aspects:

  • Developing trusting relationships: Leaders should focus on developing these relationships with their direct reports by demonstrating authenticity, vulnerability, and a genuine concern for employees. In all of these areas, it is critical that the leader go first when it comes to developing trusting relationships.
  • Building others up: Building others up involves providing team members with the resources necessary to build the competence and confidence it takes to succeed (training, performance guidelines, time, consistent feedback, etc.). This also includes ensuring that you match the appropriate skill and challenge levels to be effective in the job.

4 Tips to Enable Others to Act while leading virtually

  1. Make the time to get to know your team members on a personal level.
  2. Be the first to model trust, it sets the standard for what collaborative relationships look like.
  3. Know your people’s strengths and opportunity areas and provide the appropriate level of development at the appropriate time. Don’t treat a beginner like an expert (delegate too much too soon) and don’t treat an expert like a beginner (micromanage).
  4. Ask for and incorporate people’s ideas on how best to accomplish work during these challenging times.

Being a great leader means Enabling Others to Act. The next time you are reflecting on your leadership skills, consider whether you are helping others to improve and perform at their best.

Download an Overview of The Leadership Challenge

Bill Mugavin

Bill Mugavin is director of consulting services at FlashPoint. He has worked with top-tier Fortune 1000 global organizations to improve leadership and management effectiveness.