In the past segment of assessing where we stand in the remote team journey, BeNext Radio responses reminded us that we all have different styles of leadership, and within each of them, there are strengths, and situations when we need to adopt our leadership style. But it all starts with self-awareness i.e. knowing ourselves. And then we can find the best ways of leading our teams and supporting our team members. In fact, being away from each other has given us the opportunity to communicate in a way that can be more flexible. As we use more of asynchronous communication, we need to be more aware of our own preferences i.e. how we like to communicate, and how we can change our communication style to help our teams.
Building the Base for Effective Asynchronous Communication
Discipline is the bedrock of asynchronous communication, and this must be backed up with ownership. Using collaboration tools such as online shared Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and Whiteboard tools is crucial, otherwise there is a tendency of creating multiple versions of the same document, and the risk of losing control of the integrity of the document. Documentation helps each member understand the Why i.e. the underlying purpose.
Tools help, but there is always a human element which we need to bring to work. Mutual trust, respect, documentation, and seamless communication between teams and team members fosters asynchronous working. To build such a healthy culture, tools like Teams and Mails can do wonders in connecting teams and creating success. It is really important to have an amazing offline equation to work online more effectively.
Of course, challenges persist. A participant shares, “We have always had some part of asynchronous mode of communication, but due to cultural issues in the team, we may end up converting asynchronous tools into the synchronous mode. I was taking email as a synchronous mode, but some portion of it moved to the asynchronous mode, which has improved my daily efficiency in the past few months”.
How to Implement Asynchronous Communication Effectively
Implementation of asynchronous communication demands leaders to take initiative in establishing it as an organizational way of life. As a leader shares, “For effective implementation going ahead, in my capacity as Head of Department, I will summarize what I have learnt so far, curate three to five tips for team members and invite them to apply these takeaways. Also, in my capacity as Head of HR, I am passionate about the sustainability of my workforce and will therefore pay attention to employees wellbeing and mental wellness”. Espousing some behaviours can prove helpful:
- Trusting others in their thoughts and work
- Collaboration doesn’t happen only in meetings
- Leading by example
- Meeting individual team members for better understanding
“Time has value, experience has value, and energy has value,” so leaders must add a personal touch in imbibing an asynchronous work culture. For example, clearly writing down and demarcating two columns - one for what you plan to reduce and one for what you plan to encourage in your team. A simple act of taking a picture of this model from your notebook, and propagating it proactively, with personalized colours and handwriting, can help build a connection and motivate the team to go asynchronous.
Team Mantras for Asynchronous Work Success
Simple but catchy discussions around Team Mantras can make such values easy to remember as well as bring meaning to teams:
- Find facts, not faults
- Trust each other- build and sustain trust, build relations. Relations and trust are a solid ground for objectivity and achievement
- Empathize with others
- Reflect daily
- Adapt and innovate, technovate- innovate with the use of technology
- Celebrate the failures
- Learn and unlearn…learn and earn
- Build capability to be agile, be agile to survive
- Work collaboratively and help each other succeed - there is nothing here called as Your problem or My problem, it’s Our problem, so Collaborate and Win
- Agenda-less conversations
- Pivot in the VUCA
- Give and ask for feedback
Excel with the new normal and for this, above all, have a clear goal in sight, communicate with clarity and respect, and GO FOR IT if it’s worth the trouble.
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