The COVID-19 pandemic has forced even the most “My door is always open,” hands-on manager to shut the literal door. Working from home is challenging for most, and managing your team when they are transformed into a bunch of faces and voices on your laptop screen comes with its new challenges.
The post-pandemic future isn’t looking too bright for several people, but the ones truly suffering are the managers. Caught between providing for their people and meeting business goals, we think they’re this close to a mental breakdown.
Let's look at the best ways to manage teams and ensure timely delivery.
Several new words have entered our day-to-day lexicon - New Normal, Pandemic, Unprecedented, Lockdown, Quarantine, and more. Yet, at most times, we are finding ourselves short of the right words to say. If anyone had told us in March that we'd be staring at over nine weeks of isolation from each other, we’d have never believed that such an eventuality would have come to pass.
And yet, it has.
Most metrics for measuring employee performance are meant for 9-5, traditional office workspaces. With the coronavirus pandemic, the already-begun work-from-home (WFH) trend accelerated like never before.
Some firms are even contemplating asking huge portions of their workforce to permanently WFH.
So how are we going measure performance across a video screen?
The road back to normal after the coronavirus lockdown has passed is likely to be a tricky one. For one thing, a pandemic of this scale is unprecedented in modern times. Millions of people have been suddenly forced to work from home, even those who had never been in this situation before.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has pulled the brakes on work and life as we know it. Organisations of every size and type have had to shift to working remotely at extremely short notice, whether they were ready for it or not.
While the ongoing coronavirus crisis has shuttered a lot of small businesses, others like the neighbourhood kirana (grocery) stores and chemists are having their moment in the spotlight.
What can you do as a small business to first survive and then thrive?
The novel coronavirus crisis has put a whole new spin on “think global, act local.” There is a lot to be learned from how companies around the globe are reacting with respect to people, processes and business.
Some crises are sudden and explosive, and some can be seen materialising from a distance, yet can’t be stopped for various reasons. No series on crisis management is complete without at least a word on the most effective way to manage a crisis: prevent it from happening in the first place.
Running a business is not easy. There are a number of variables floating around on any given day that can affect how things flow. Having policies, procedures and rules in place, and hiring smartly helps the business grow with lesser snafus. Yet, there are ticking timebombs!
No climb up the corporate ladder is without innumerable assessments and feedback sessions. Now that you’ve made it to the upper rungs, you may find that less feedback and criticism is coming your way. One of the perks of being the top boss, right? Or is it?
As organizational psychologist Adam Grant puts it, “Big groups are where creativity goes to die.”
We’ve all heard the saying about too many cooks. It's time to admit that brainstorming is not all that it is cracked up to be.
This is a post inspired by our new favourite read: "Radical Candor" by Kim Scott, a NY Times bestseller.
Kim Scott brings her vast experience building teams at Apple and Google to segment the different kinds of bosses and pin down exactly the kind of boss one should aspire to be.
Workplaces value and promote collaboration within teams, but in many cases, expectation does not meet reality. Teams may not demonstrate the expected levels of cooperation.
Or they may start out well but not sustain the momentum over the natural course of a project. We look at some of the pitfalls and some successful strategies to sustain and enhance collaboration among teams.
All the best-laid plans only last as long as the first domino falls. In teams, even one person lagging behind or feeling unengaged can pull the whole collective down. Needless to say, teams that communicate well have the best chance at thriving. Collaboration in teams is only possible if every stakeholder is ready to share and delegate effectively.
Workplaces value and promote collaboration within teams but in many cases, the expectation does not meet reality. Teams may not demonstrate the expected levels of cooperation and teamwork. Or they may start out well but not sustain the momentum over the natural course of a project.
What can you do to help?
This December, RainKraft turned four.
Four years of doing meaningful work, supporting individuals and companies alike with learning strategies, content, coaching and consulting... the heart is full. This year also marks the completion of two years since we started the RainKraft blog. We love digging deep into one idea, looking at it from different perspectives and keeping it simple for you.
Simply put, employee engagement is the precise opposite of “physically present, mentally absent.” It means that employees are happy with their role, productive, and present in the here and now, with all their faculties engaged and focused on work.
So, why does this feel like such a big ask most of the time?
“The Intern,” starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway is one of the most telling movies about diversity in the workplace in our times. De Niro, a retired former executive, joins Hathaway’s furiously growing, millennial-powered eCommerce startup through a “senior internship program.”
What could go right?
We recently talked about the pain value of a bad hire, and what steps you can take to fix it.
Let’s talk about getting hiring right at an organisational level. Agreed, Human Resources is there for a reason, but when is it beneficial, or imperative, for the higher management to be involved in the hiring process?
It happens to the best of managers- we hire the person who seems best fit for a job, only to realise later just how wrong we really were. This is also a tricky problem to solve because no one sets out to hire the wrong candidate. So we are left with a range of emotions and a real mess.
If we told you that stress is subjective, you’d probably start calling us names. But come to think of it, stress and time aren’t as closely related as we think. Most resident doctors today work over eighty hours a week, and some entrepreneurs manage to top that number as well.
And yet, there are people who do it for years, decades even, and seem not to crack under the pressure. What, then, drives some people to be more unhappy with work than the others?
When we worked on our #FirstTimeManager series last year, there was something that we said we would come to as a series by itself. Over a year later and enriched with multiple conversations on challenges managers face, we look at performance anxiety and stress, which peak in managers, leaders and founders.
The more we talk about stress, the more stressful it gets!
For many of us on a typical morning, it is common to have mental chatter even before we’re fully awake. We think about our task list, plan for the entire day, and let the brain go on a trip even before the day has actually begun.
Let us start understanding the need for deep work with a mindfulness activity. Just for today, turn on the screen time tracker on your phone. Some smartphones allow you to also see how much time you have spend on each individual app.
If you have this feature, turn it on. The results will amaze you.