Posted by Kirsten Gibbs Last updated 13th April 2021 reading time
Working away from the office has been uncomfortable for many people. Not least leaders.
We’re so used to the panopticon of open plan, together with the richness of non-verbal communication that enables ‘management by walking about’ – the ability to dip in and help where it’s needed with feedback and encouragement.
Remote working has made leading feel like a game of blind man’s buff.
It feels like we should become more like old-fashioned managers – telling people what to do then trying to assess where they really are through regular progress reports or software. None of these things tell you what you really want to know – whether people are struggling, or have misunderstood what’s required, or are simply missing something – all the things you used to be able spot really quickly when everyone was together in the office.
It’s an interesting problem, that existed long before before lockdown and work from home. What do you do when people struggle but don’t ask for help?
For some the answer is more surveillance, and more checklists. For others it’s mandating a return to the office. But I wonder if framing the problem differently might work better?
What if we looked at our people as students, rather than workers? What if instead of asking ‘How do I know they are where they should be?’ we asked ourselves ‘How do I know they are learning?’.
The answer to that question would I’m sure lead to a different way of organising how teams are supported.
And from my experience we could do worse than look at how Akimbo does it.