Communicating like a boss, even though I’ve been working solo at home for the last four years takes some adjustment.
I thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve been able to create in terms of my work space.
I have a dedicated desk where my laptop sits on an elevated platform to minimize carpal tunnel. And I have a routine where I’m always at my desk by 8:30 with a hot cup of tea. Sometimes it’s Rooibos or Earl Grey or Matcha. I get to decide when the snack breaks and the stretch breaks are. I keep a clean space in the kitchen for making midday meals, and at my desk so that I can see clearly what comes next. So I have full autonomy over when the Deep work gets done and when the email gets checked. I work in silence most days and if I need background noise it’s going to be instrumental and non-disruptive. Chill and productize. That’s the mantra that should be emblazoned on my workspace wall. These are some of the conveniences of having a workspace that’s dedicated and designed for your convenience.
While the shelter registration is happening with COVID-19 I had to adjust some of my routines to allow for educating and checking in on my children. This included transitioning back and forth from my desk to the dining room table where they were working on schoolwork. This didn’t feel too disruptive because in our house I’m the primary caregiver so I’m used to doing some of the homework help during the week anyway.
The Big Shift Due To COVID-19
The big shift came when my husband joined the shelter in. Now, a few things about me and my work style. I’m not necessarily a morning person and yet I have found that my golden hour is between 8:30 and 11 am. It’s part of why I started really enjoying getting up extremely early in order to start my day. I can bang out some deep work in the wee hours. It’s when batching content happens, it’s when marketing plans happen. It’s when writing new keynotes or workshops happen. Also when I do all of my financial forecasting for the business. 8:30 to 11 is golden.
Communicating like a boss means learning to become a team player.
But once my husband started to shelter in I realized that he’s not interested in getting up anytime before 10 or 10:30. He also likes to listen to the news on our Bluetooth speaker and leave it in various rooms across our apartment. And he’s not the best at making the bed or doing the dishes. Things that I consider essential in keeping my mind clear. Not bad. But definitely different and a shock to my usual work systems.
So what do you do when your workspace is encroached upon? When you can’t be as productive as you like? I know for me that looks like passive aggressive behavior, avoidance of the other person, angry silence. The opposite of being a team player. Communicating like a boss means learning to become a team player.
Great Teams Know How To Communicate
In this time of COVID-19 whole families are having to rediscover how to play team. And great teams know how to communicate. This is one of the four key characteristics of great leaders. Communication. And with all of us home with our families, we get to decide how we’re going to lead from home not just in our businesses and with our work teams, but also we also with our loved ones.
Like me, millions of Americans find themselves at home with people we typically don’t have to communicate with about our comings and goings, our work style or our routines. Now is a good time to look at how we get to communicate those things.
I’m fortunate to have partnered with someone that I’ve known for a very long time. My husband and I have been together for 13 years and within 24 hours he became very aware that I was uncomfortable with our new setup and he simply asked me, “Hey, how are you feeling about me transitioning to being home full-time?” And this opened the door for me to be vulnerable about how I was feeling, what I was finding challenging, and my underlying fears about the new situation. This led to a collaborative conversation that ended with us designating work spaces for the kids, a routine that we could both live with and then a menu planning session for the upcoming week.
Question Leads To Collaboration
Is that something that you, as a manager, are doing with your work team?
Is it something that you’re comfortable doing now, while others are also learning and adjusting to working from home?
Opening the door with a question is key for managers.
It is critical for effective communication.
It provides you with valuable data and insight about others. And by leading with a question you also demonstrate empathy for the other person. We’re touching on so many high level manager skills here: self awareness, curiosity, empathy.
What Do You need? What Does The Team Need?
While your partners, teammates, and family members are thinking about how they’re impacted by the new schedules and routines, you too can think about what you need in this situation. Do you need dedicated silence or work time at a certain period during the day? Would you like to bundle when your meetings or phone calls are, based on your children’s school day schedule? Have you thought about when you’re going to break for mealtimes like lunch, or who’s going to start prepping the evening meal? All of this gets handled in communication. And if you’re not accustomed to communicating this much with your family members what a beautiful time to beef up that skill-set to communicating like a boss.
Now, of course, this becomes especially relevant as we think about remote teams who are all dealing with their own home-based communication challenges. But you, as a great manager, gets to practice emotional intelligence. Ask the question to see how it’s going. And as a team all of you can decide how it’s going to go moving forward.
Managing And Communicating Like A Boss!
I know I’m grateful for the conversation my husband started around how we’re going to start working from home together. But how can you use this to make sure that your business is working optimally in the era of COVID-19? For more examples of how effective managers can be communicating like a boss and flex their skills to build rapport and efficiency with your team check out my Essential Skills for Effective Managers course.
Don’t worry it’s all online. Social distancing is included.