COVID-19: Beyond Reaction to Response – A Personal Perspective – No.2

From Tools and Technologies to Culture and Behaviours

As a Leadership & Development (L&D) specialist accustomed to face-to-face classroom delivery of workshops, lockdown presented a huge challenge. Suddenly, I had no choice but to adapt to online delivery of workshops, learning new tools such as Zoom in double-quick time, as well as adapting to home-based working and being part of a virtual team. I am sure that many of you experienced the same scramble to embrace these new technologies: moving team meetings to a virtual platform, meeting clients on Skype rather than in rooms, and working out how on earth to find somewhere quiet to set up the home office!

And there are positives. Many people I speak to feel more productive, have enjoyed the extra time with family, and are delighted to be free from the drudgery of the daily commute to the office. Five months later, it is easy to feel that we are all experts in this virtual world. However, there is a danger that we conflate the use of tools and technology with culture and behavioural change. Many leaders are struggling with a sense of loss of control and admit to finding it difficult to trust their teams are actually working when they’re not in the office. Others may be facing mental health challenges as they struggle with feelings of isolation. Yet how many managers’ empathy is as well-attuned to someone on a Skype call as it is in a face-to-face conversation?

There may also be those who struggle for other reasons with these new ways of working. How prepared are we in this virtual environment to raise concerns or ask for help when we’re not clear how to move a project forward? Fellow L&D practitioners I have spoken to recognise we are only at the beginning of a work culture transformation, which will require deep behavioral change, especially for leaders and managers…yet few of us are at a point where we can articulate exactly what those changes are or indeed how to facilitate them.

  • How does your organization’s culture need to change to support new ways of working and engaging with colleagues, clients and stakeholders?
  • What behavioral changes do your leaders and managers need to adopt in order to lead this culture change?
  • How can we best facilitate this in a virtual environment?

Authored by James Salter, Sales Manager
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To read James’ first blog in this series, please click here
To read James’ third blog in this series, please click here