How an essentially social animal can equip, even inspire, others to succeed at work, despite social distancing
We humans are essentially social animals, I know I am, for sure. For now global events have robbed so many of us of the opportunity to physically get together, perhaps our preferred means of interacting as a species.
Instead we’re forced to work from home, isolated from our peers and colleagues, at a time when perhaps we need them most; to talk things through and co-create the best ways forward in this unfamiliar world.
We’ve all had to reinvent what it means to stay in ‘touch’ when we can’t shake each other’s hands or huddle around the coffee machine, much less hug one another.
But there is little to be gained by listing all the things we can’t do. Better to focus on what we can do, and then do it – to equip, even inspire, others to succeed at work, despite the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And for this particular social animal, these days that means, lights, camera and action…
The trusted face of experience
For well over two decades, I’ve been privileged to help leaders and line managers deliver against the many and varied business challenges they face. Continuing to do so, despite working remotely, still means showing my face, but these days that means via web cam from my home office.
So first of all, I switch on the carefully positioned lights on my bright white desk. In truth, I find the reflected ‘up lighting’ helps remove one of my chins, without the need for invasive surgery.
Then the camera can be switched on to reveal the trusted face of experience, complete with lockdown induced DIY haircut. Though many would argue I need a cloth to shine my bald pate, more than I need a comb.
But the serious point is that we all crave face-to-face communication, we even send face-based emoji’s with texts to signal the intent behind our message 😉 Video is the next best thing to face-to-face in the current climate, so I’m keen to use it to its best possible extent.
Now it’s time for action…
Making a positive impact
I’ve been successfully partnering with clients, via virtual meetings, throughout my near 25 years with Axiom. The international nature of our offering dictates that, as have other facts of business life over the years, such as travel bans, costs challenges and environmental concerns.
Working remotely is nothing new, nor is my passion to always make a positive impact with the people and organisations I work with – helping them to take action. And if we can do this whilst spreading a few smiles around the world, all the better, especially now.
An example of this approach in action is a virtual workshop I deliver, one of many we run, which we sometimes subtitle ‘How to maintain a positive outlook’ Here I help participants apply the learning to create the best possible outcomes for themselves and those around them, amid the negativity that often swirls around their heads. Some participants have kindly gone as far as describing the workshop as inspirational.
This ‘can do’ spirit was recently welcomed by clients over 4,000 miles away, as we shared our experience and expertise to equip people ‘To manage and communicate in times of change’ – and times of change these certainly are. The follow-up discussions have clearly shown how the virtual workshop content is now being applied to address a business-critical issue.
And then there is our workshop on ‘How to improve business performance by better understanding your people‘, recently facilitated from the UK, with clients in the US. Here the online discussions are about how to become more self-aware, develop the ability to understand the behaviour of others and use these newfound capabilities to achieve a step change in performance, usually augmented by virtual coaching.
Time to make a difference
OK, all of us social animals may have had our wings clipped for now, we can’t travel around the world the way we used to, we can’t meet face-to-face, we can’t even shake hands.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference, that doesn’t mean we can’t build and apply new skills, and that doesn’t mean we can’t share our experience and expertise to make a positive impact. So that is certainly what I will continue to do, even in a world full of uncertainty.
Now is the time to make a difference.
Take a look at the range of workshops we offer.