Header

Managing a team in the current climate: observations from our Managing Director, Adam Forster

Published on 15th June 2020

We spoke to Adam Forster, our Managing Director of Ambition (Australia) on how he has handled leading a team in the current climate.

Download out booklet "Building and maintaining a high performing team" here, if you would like more helpful tips.

What was your biggest concern when transitioning the whole team to working remotely?

The biggest concern I had was how to support the less experienced members of the group, ensuring they were able to self manage. I feel we're overcoming this by regular and consistent communication, mainly by VC using programs like Teams or Zoom. Checking in regularly has prevented problems snowballing, by being contactable and making the team aware they are supported it has allowed many of the team to flourish. I think it's important to keep accountability by setting goals and celebrating small wins, helping show even the least experienced team members what good looks like in a completely new market.

What advice would you give to others who are managing teams remotely? 

My most important bit of advice I would give is to make sure the technology works properly. Ensure objectives are clear, set goals, check in regularly, and celebrate wins. Making time for non-work related content allows your team to regain their culture, connect and reach out to one another. Don't punish your team for taking breaks, create a culture where breaks are accepted, and encourage logging off at the end of the day to disconnect. Above all, remember each person is an individual with different circumstances and needs, so you'll need to adjust your expectations accordingly.

What positives have your seen come out of the “new normal” way of working?

There have been some great positives which have come to light throughout this process, certainly a shift towards work as something we do (not somewhere we go), although that being balanced with a new-found appreciation of the routine of work and what that normally represents to people. Perhaps a greater appreciation for a job and how the rewards of work enable so much of what we take for granted, including our sense of self-worth - especially apparent when the possibility/reality of not having a job is in such close proximity for so many. Finally a good, hard look at how our working week is structured and how that might be about to change for good.

Name your top 3 tips to any leaders who are trying to motivate their teams right now?

My top 3 tips would be :

  1. Promote a sense of ownership and belonging throughout the team.
  2. Set goals, no matter how small; celebrate successes great and small too.
  3. Dare to talk about a bright future.

What do you consider the biggest change will be for organisations once everyone returns to the office? 

Beyond the logistics, this crisis seems to have significant social change included in it most notably for commuters. The single biggest change I think we'll see will be the end of Monday to Friday 9-5 presenteeism, quite rightly replaced with outcomes-focused accountability and the acceptance of a wider range of ways to collaborate.

How has your view on remote working changed since forced lockdown?

No, my view on remote working hasn't changed, I believe all working relations should be based on trust. If you don't trust someone to work for you from anywhere, don't hire them! I think recent events have definitely opened the eyes of others who may have been previously hiding behind productivity, cultural or technological reasons, and are starting to see the possibility outside of Covid-19. 

 

If you would like more helpful tips on leading a team in the current climate, download out booklet "Building and maintaining a high performing team" here