In 2017, the workforce is changing, with fewer employees spending their days at the office and more workers embracing the flexibility of a mobile work environment. Managers need to adapt their management style to meet the needs of this digital workforce. Here are a few digital management tips to help you become a better leader for your virtual team.
When it comes to great digital management, out of sight does not mean out of mind. Actively work to keep your mobile employees engaged with your organization. Digital employees have fewer day-to-day encounters with coworkers, making their connection with management particularly important. Use digital tools to build a team feeling. Seek input from your digital workforce when developing strategies. Digital management requires regularly updating your digital team about department goals and company news, so that its members always feel informed and valued as part of the organization.
Open Up Communication
Simply sending out daily messages full of company news is not enough to develop a culture of connection. Your digital management protocol also needs to foster two-way communication between yourself and your direct reports as well as between the members of your team, even if they don't work in the same physical space. Some managers mistake collaboration for communication. Remember that one of the goals of communication is to learn and show empathy. Let your digital workers see that you understand their daily struggles and are there to provide support and help. Take advantage of social media and mobile technology apps that let you interact with your team and help team members interact with each other in new ways from any location.
Learn to Trust
Become a better leader to your digital workforce by learning to trust your workers to manage their time well. Micromanagement is never a good idea, and when most of your contact with workers is virtual, it becomes a logistic nightmare. Improve your digital management techniques by setting deadlines and communicating regularly, but then step back and let your employees follow the natural ebb and flow of their creativity and energy levels. Remember that one of the advantages of working digitally is being able to set your own schedule, and employees who regularly take two-hour lunches may spend hours later that same day focused on a project without breaks.
Emerging technologies are likely to continue shaping our organizations into the future, and digital management leadership must look at their workforce with this rapidly changing culture in mind. Your digital employees, especially those who are part of a younger generation, are unlikely to value more traditional reward systems. Consider the specific needs of your workers when developing recognitions. A plaque on your desk means little if you don't have a physical desk and no direct coworkers to admire it, and a bonus might just become more money to pay bills. On the other hand, tickets to a coveted event provide an experience that won't easily be forgotten, and a public post of recognition on one of the company's social media pages reaches a wide audience.
Better digital management requires managers who actively seek new ways to engage their workforce. Challenge yourself to form a connection with every member of your team through open communication and a leadership style based on trust.
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