In our last post, we challenged you to assess how you show up, how you want to show up and how others think you show up to your virtual workspace. Because most of us all have blind spots to the attitude and awareness we bring to the table, it’s sometimes difficult to assess what our team members find challenging about the behaviours we show up with behind our screens or on the phone.
If you answered all the self-reflection questions fully and honestly, congratulations! If you didn’t get around to taking stock of how you show up, take a couple minutes and think about the following:
- When I’m on a phone meeting and not face-to-face with others, am I actively participating in the conversation? Yes/No
- Before responding to a team member who hasn’t been performing well, do I call and email him/her right away or do I step away from the situation to assess before responding? Take a moment here to think of a specific situation and spend a few moments reflecting before answering. Yes/No
- I am easily distracted by my emails Yes/No Take some extra time here and reflect on how much time you spend checking personal emails and updates on social networks or other websites.
- Do I respond with awareness in most situations? Yes/No Write down some virtual interactions (email, telephone, video conference) you’ve had in the last couple weeks and think about your level of awareness in each situation.
- Do I generally react with my first thought, opinion or judgment? Yes/No
- Do I take time each day for myself to do one healthy and stress relieving activity – meditation, yoga, and/or physical exercise? Yes/No
Would one of your team members agree or disagree with your answers? Copy and paste these questions into an email and ask someone on your team you trust if you have not done so already.
Perception vs. reality
We’d all like to think we’re giving our team members and projects we’re working on 100 per cent attention 100 per cent of the time, but that is neither realistic, nor attainable. Emotions, to-do lists, personal obligations, energy levels, etc. are constantly battling for our attention. However, by bringing a few mindful moments of awareness to each situation we can communicate in a less reactive and more influential way.
Think of it this way, when you’re driving a car there is always a blind spot. You know the blind spot is there, but what about those times you’re not consciously bringing your awareness to it. You check your mirror but you don’t shoulder check and wham, you might hit another car and crash.
The same thing happens in the virtual workplace. You’re half listening, thinking about what you need to get done later, checking your smartphone and only giving half of your focus to your project. Sooner or later, you’re team members start to pull back, maybe they quit responding to your requests in a timely manner, or maybe conflict and animosity start surfacing.
While you may think you’re doing everything right, you’re subconsciously letting others on your team down and conflict arises because you haven’t paid attention to the whole picture.
If you don’t know, how can you change?
Now that you have some basic levels of awareness on how you’re currently showing up, it’s time to paint an entire picture of the situation, not only your perception. Try sending your virtual team members a confidential survey to garner honest feedback with the following types of questions:
- What behaviours am I exhibiting? For example:
o Does it seem like I’m genuinely interested in what people on the call have to say?
o Do I respond in a timely manner to emails and phone calls?
o Do you feel that I’m listening when I respond to your phone calls?
o How does my behaviour at work impact you and the team?
- What would you like me to start doing that I have not been doing?
- What would you like me to be stop doing that has been getting in the way of your productivity?
- What would you like me to continue doing that has been helpful in your career growth?
Once you’ve collected this information from your team, what will you do with it?
Look again at the questions and determine the one that makes you most uncomfortable. Nine times out of 10 the one that gives you the most discomfort when you read it is the area you need to change the most. Now you will need to take action.Unless you take that first step and then the following ones, nothing will happen to help you reach your desired outcomes, no matter how clearly they’re defined.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.