Monday, August 3, 2020

Creating a Culture of Growth/Growth Mindset While Leading Remotely

The rapid spread of coronavirus in early 2020 led to widespread quarantines and a general shuttering of the brick-and-mortar economy. In the wake of this shift, 67% of employers who normally did not make allowance for remote work reported that were taking steps to enable their employees to conduct their work from home.

It’s encouraging that 21st-century companies great and small have the option to continue working even when they can’t meet in person. However, there’s one aspect of business that often translates very poorly to a remote setting: maintaining a growth-minded company culture.

Why a Growth Mindset Always Matters

Everyone has heard of that old saying that if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime. Regardless of your feelings towards a seafood diet, the maxim has survived the test of time because it possesses universal application — including in the workplace.

If you provide your employees with limited instructions, short-term goals, and a micromanaged atmosphere, it won’t take long before your entire company culture atrophies. Sure, you may be able to meet several benchmarks or objectives initially, but eventually, your staff will wear out, move one, or even simply lose interest. 

Enter a growth mindset.

A growth mindset revolves around the concept that continual change and adaptation are necessary for long term professional success. 

Rather than using your staff’s current skills and knowledge in perpetuity, a growth mindset-oriented employer deliberately fosters a culture that encourages continual learning and innovation. This enables your workforce — and by extension, your company — to remain on the cutting-edge of a business world that is in a constant state of evolution and improvement.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset in a Remote Team

While it’s easy to recognize the importance of a growth mindset, the real challenge comes when you attempt to maintain a culture of growth in a remote team. With physical distance and often tenuous technology keeping you connected, it can be difficult to stay on the same page, let alone try to grow together.

Fortunately, there are many strategies that you can apply in order to develop and maintain a growth mindset even in a remote team.

Maintain Two-Way Communication

Perhaps the most important part of maintaining a growth mindset is healthy communication. This holds even greater importance in a remote work scenario, where staying in touch is often tentative and difficult.

However, if you want to maintain a culture of growth, it’s essential that you tend to your internal communications. Make sure that clear guidelines are established for how communication is to take place, respect work-life boundaries, and remember that communication is a two-way street that requires active listening on the part of the employer.

Empower Your Employees

The bedrock of a healthy company is its employees. However, if your staff feels micromanaged, distrusted, or alienated from you, it can hobble your team’s ability to function.

In order to overcome this possibility, it’s important that you deliberately empower your employees. You can do this by clearly defining responsibilities for each individual, delegating tasks, and generally shifting responsibility and expectations onto your workers in a healthy, empowering manner that encourages them to take control of their work.

Look for Remote Growth Opportunities

Seeking opportunities to learn and grow is a normal part of motivating a professional team. However, when you’re managing a remote team, you can’t necessarily gather into a conference room or hobnob in a bullpen as you learn together.

That leaves it to you, the employer, to actively seek out ways to grow together as a team. This can come in the form of an online course that you take collectively, a lecture that you set up on a Zoom call, or even a series of team building activities.

Build Trust, Even from Afar

Finally, if you want to grow as a remote team, it’s important to develop a deep sense of trust with your employees. Be humble, genuinely invest in your staff, and regularly demonstrate an interest in your employee’s concerns. Show that you care about helping them maintain work-life balance, and use delegation and empowerment to establish a level of trust in their abilities.

In addition, use things like hosting one-on-ones with team members, focusing on outcomes rather than hours worked, and encouraging employee self-care. All of these help to foster a sense of loyalty and are critical factors in building trust and successfully managing a remote team, in the first place.

Maintaining a Growth Mindset in the New Normal

We live in a post-COVID world. Remote work is largely here to stay and managing from a distance is the new normal. As such, it’s important that employers actively take steps to recover, develop, and ultimately maintain a growth-oriented mindset for their virtually driven operations.

Use things like trust, empowerment, communication, and growth opportunities to knit your team together and orient them towards a path of continual learning, adaptation, and growth that benefits both each individual and your company as a whole.

About the Author: Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and business topics are his favorite. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.

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