From leader to remote coach
The new coronavirus pandemic has changed the work of a leader faster than we could ever imagine. Leaders have had to figure out how to keep up with the times when following the working hours, the coping and well-being of their employees who work from home. In just a few months leaders have become remote coaches without any training.
More people are working from home in Finland than anywhere else in Europe. According to Eurofound, nearly 60% of Finnish employees started to work from home when Covid-19 began to spread to Europe. In EU countries the corresponding figure is 37% on average, in Sweden it was 42%, in Estonia 36%, in Greece 26% and in Romania only 18%.
In my opinion this shows that the know-how of Finnish employees is on a high level and the work climate at workplaces is good. We also trust the work ethics of our work-mates. Supervisors trust their personnel, and workers trust each other and their supervisors.
During the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, workers have become increasingly more self-directed, within the policies and goals of the organization and according to jointly agreed rules. Even when people work from home, the leader’s task is to support them and listen to their views before making decisions.
I have experience of also the other side of the coin. It feels good when someone has time, in the midst of their own work, to give advice and help with things you don’t know yourself.
“How’s it going – everything OK?” is always a good question at work. The person you greet in this way gets an opportunity to talk about a grievance which may affect also their work. As a result of the interaction, the feeling of trust is strengthened at the workplace, and there is mutual support between people.
A leader should lead an organization as his or her genuine self. This view came up in several articles in the present issue of Telma. It is then easier for employees to work and even to anticipate their supervisor’s way of thinking.
A leader whose opinions waver back and forth does not promote confidence. As a result, it is difficult for the personnel to work in a self-directed manner – especially when working from home. Ways of acting and rules that have been agreed on together have proven to be extremely valuable during the pandemic.
The spreading of the Covid-19 coronavirus and its consequences is a good example of how a leader has to prepare for unexpected phenomena. Leaders have always been encouraged to try out new methods and work habits in their organizations. Now there has been an excellent opportunity to implement these ideas!