Managing and Leading (and Learning) During Interesting Times:

Introduction

These have not been normal circumstances. We each have been dumped into something we did not imagine six months ago. I was at work on a Friday expecting to come back on Monday. My boss called on Sunday, “Don’t go to the office. They won’t let you in the building.” He was allowed in the building for a few moments on Monday and brought me a few things I wanted from my desk.

Managing the Remote Work

Teams comprise different persons who do different jobs. The highly visible jobs are easy: developer, tester, writer, etc.

Trust

Trust the people you have hired. This is one of the more irrational fears that many managers have. They trusted a person enough to hire them, but don’t trust them enough to work. You can check their product — both the amount and the quality. If there is a problem with either, endeavor to improve the product, but not the person.

Communicate.

Knowing what people are doing and wanting and how they are excelling can be difficult. In remote work, you can’t stick your head in the door and shout, “How’s it goin’ here?”

Adapt

You probably didn’t hire any member of your group to work remotely. I wasn’t hired to work to do so, but here we are. Now we all must adapt.

Fundamentals

Emphasize fundamentals. We know how to accomplish work. Remote work creates a different context, but the work is the same. If you provide services, keep providing the services. If you provide products, keep providing them. Check with your customers. They are also in this strange remote world. Are they happy with your team? How should you adjust to their new needs?

Materials

People at home should be given funds to work from home. There is no company supply room at home. Some companies have the policy, “You’re working from home. You’re saving money by not commuting. Use that savings to buy what you need.” This may be true for some persons, but not for others. To continue the theme, no one was hired to work remotely, and there was little prior notice.

Change and the Return to Normal

We all change. Consider pebbles in a stream. Little by little, moment by moment, the trickling water erodes and shapes the pebbles. One day, years later, we notice that sharp rocks became smooth pebbles.

Learning from the Experience

The current situation, like all other situations, will end. We will go back to a situation that will resemble our old working arrangement, but, as we noted above, will not be the same.

  • I liked blank.
  • I liked being blank.
  • I disliked blank.
  • I disliked being blank.
  • And what I really want to say to everyone is blank.

Conclusion

Two notes:

References

General References

Adegbuyi, F. (2020, March 11). 8 Lessons from the Best Remote Companies in the World. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://doist.com/blog/lessons-remote-companies/

References from April 2020

Parungao, A. (2020, April 29). 5 lessons I learned as a first-time remote worker. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://www.ekoapp.com/blog/5-lessons-i-learned-as-a-first-time-remote-worker

References from 2017 and 2018

DeRosa, D. (2018, May 18). 6 lessons from successful virtual teams. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://www.godaddy.com/garage/6-lessons-from-successful-virtual-teams/

About Dwayne Phillips

Dwayne Phillips is a computer and systems engineering living in Northern Virginia. He has been working in computing and the government space since 1980. Dr. Phillips has written many papers for Cutter Consortium. See dwaynephillips.net/publicat.htm.

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Dwayne Phillips

Dwayne Phillips

Engineer, computing, consulting, writing, teaching, and a few other things in an effort to make us all better and smarter.