When the COVID-19 shutdowns began in March 2020, most of us assumed we would be back to business as usual within a few months. But more recent news has said that a Coronavirus vaccine may still be many months away. This more prolonged timeline is making HR professionals and business owners wonder how they can continue professional development learning for leadership while their team is working from home.
Professional Development Took a Pause During COVID-19 Shutdowns
Learning for leaders is an important part of their long-term career trajectories. Professional development is key to preparing tomorrow’s leaders for the responsibilities they will face in the years ahead (including as future owners of the family business) Ongoing learning opportunities provide value to key employees and keep them engaged in their work.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first swept through America, many executives and business owners had to scramble to figure out how their businesses would stay open and their employees would function on a day-to-day level. Longer-term priorities, including professional development took a back seat to the emergent needs of the moment.
However, now that the first wave has passed and most companies have settled into a new standard operating procedure, it is time to press play on some of the more visionary aspects of your business. The fact that your leadership, and much of the rest of the country, is working from home could actually work to your company’s advantage. So why not be ready to take advantage of this silver lining to an otherwise very dark cloud?
Managing Remote Teams Takes a Different Set of Leadership Skills
Many team leaders, managers, and supervisors are still scrambling to find effective ways to guide their teams now that employees are working from home. While managing a remote team involves many of the same core skills, finding the most effective strategies and tactics often requires a different approach.
This is an opportunity, as well as a challenge. Now that your managers and supervisors have several months of working from home experience, you can bring in a business consultant to speak with them, assess their strengths, and develop remote learning options that will shore up any weaknesses in their remote management skills.
Webinars Provide Learning for Leadership Working from Home
Even if your state or local pandemic response rules may prevent you from bringing your leadership team together, you can still provide learning and professional development options. We are all spending more time on Zoom and other video conference apps these days. These same applications can bring learning opportunities for leadership working from home. An independent business consultant can provide professional development webinars and build enthusiasm for long-term corporate growth.
Conferences Go Online, Making them Accessible Without Travel Expenses
The pandemic response also provides opportunity, especially to smaller businesses without large corporate travel budgets. Many national, and even international conferences have transitioned to online formats. Other events, which cancelled their 2020 sessions, may be going online during the first part of 2021. This new online format makes the conferences more accessible to leaders from smaller, or less centrally located companies. Rather than paying for an employee to travel to New York, San Francisco, or even internationally to connect with industry thought leaders, your employees may be able to attend virtually, at much lower cost to you.
One-on-One Executive Coaching Continues Through Video Conferencing
Working from home also provides an advantage to executives and developing leaders who value their privacy. Video conferencing allows managers and other business leaders to get ongoing one-on-one executive coaching from the privacy of their home office. This eliminates anxiety over who may overhear their concerns and increases candor. That in turn means their executive coach can give them more targeted assistance, and help them resolve their concerns without worry about who might be listening.
The prolonged pandemic response doesn’t mean you need to put your company’s growth on hold. By making the most of virtual webinar, conference, and executive coaching options, you can provide professional development opportunities to your leadership team and help them take command of their remote working arrangement.
David Stanislaw is an organizational development specialist with over 25 years’ experience helping business owners and executives develop leadership management skills to adapt to changing business needs. Through one-on-one executive coaching, David helps CEOs and executives develop the skills to lead their employees, even through tough times. Contact us to meet with David and build your work-from-home strategy today.