Sentido Absoluto Magazine - Soft Skills in Times of COVID-19

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Sentido Absoluto Magazine - Soft Skills in Times of COVID-19

The pandemic of the new coronavirus has become a factor of mandatory change in the way of working, and which, as many point out, will not only be temporary ... it will even change companies forever!

This adds to the importance of looking for strategies for companies to adapt quickly and effectively to this new reality.

There are many changes, but what we highlight today is teleworking. In order to achieve the objectives set, many managers and employees are, for the first time, having contact with this new way of working and improving the processes that already existed. However…,

How are interpersonal relationships, which are so important for greater team unity and trust?

What precautions to take when communicating?

How do you keep the leading figure at a distance?

How to keep the team motivated and involved?



We ask for help from Ana Rodrigues - PhD in Business Sciences, Master in Psychology of Work, Organizations and Human Resources and Master in Human Resources Management, who usually collaborates with Sentido Absoluto as a trainer, to provide answers that can help the management of this whole process in companies:

With remote work, social contact becomes very low, online conversations are not exactly warm and human contact is lost. What concerns should management have about these changes?

We are being asked to look at life differently, to seek a new balance, but, above all, to be able to care for and nurture new values ​​such as empathy, altruism, compassion and overcoming. In the reality we live in today, like what we have all experienced so far, we know that leadership is one of the main success factors of a company. At the same time, we also know that, in any circumstance, the success of a leader is measured and evaluated by the success of his teams. It is the teams that legitimize and recognize the value of the leader. It is, therefore, essential to develop the existing relationships with the various team members, dedicating attention to them, hoping for the best and personalizing the recognition, setting an example, sharing their history and celebrating together. More than ever, the exercise of leadership must be filled with enthusiasm, energy and hope, so that you can immerse yourself in heart and soul in change and so that you can naturally strengthen relationships and knowledge. Effective leaders make people feel that even the most difficult problems and the most adverse circumstances can be overcome in a productive and positive way.

What strategies can companies adopt to keep social dynamics at a distance?

Over the past few weeks I have witnessed some initiatives that seek to nurture bonds between team members. Companies that were already developing activities, with the aim of maximizing socialization experiences among team members, continue to do so ... now, of course, in a different way! I have seen the well-known Happy Hour, moments of conviviality and relaxation after working hours, in an online version. The objective is precisely to continue to foster the bonds of unity and trust between people, talking about the new routines, the new challenges and the new emotions that this period has brought. Some companies that had not been developing initiatives of this nature are now encouraging their employees to practice physical exercise and meditation. The same daily work tools, which are used for internal and commercial meetings, are also used to bring team members together in a moment of yoga or meditation practice, which sometimes promote well-being and individual balance, sometimes facilitate interaction, exchange of experiences and proximity between people.

 

How can the company continue to transmit the company's values ​​and culture to its employees, organizational culture at a distance?

The creation and development of the organizational culture is a permanent work of the leaders who integrate a company. Culture is based on three fundamental pillars: behaviors, values ​​and skills. Whatever the scenario in which the members of the company are operating, their behaviors, values ​​and skills are a reflection of the culture that the company has. As the range of values ​​that any organization can adopt within the scope of its strategic plan is wide, ranging from quality to transparency, from innovation to excellence, from mutual assistance to commitment, it is evident and necessary that organizations now integrate flexible conduct into their structures. and tolerant, with the internal customer and with the external customer. We know that leadership is learned, developed and perfected over time, in the very action of leading, and that some of the decisive factors in building a leader are his ability to value people, his attitude, availability, resilience, adaptability, perseverance, humility and focus on the business. Practicing the fundamental principles of effective leadership is therefore absolutely central to promoting an organizational culture that values ​​individual and collective success.

 

A big challenge also arises in the way of communicating, right?

To communicate is, by definition, to “make it common”. What is essential in communication is to establish an understanding. May objectives, intentions, conscious actions and unconscious actions align so that what is communicated is, in fact, understood by the other party. In this sense, and in the current context, the two valences of communication are even more prominent: verbal and non-verbal.

With regard to the verbal dimension, it is important to remember that the language we adopt determines our thoughts. Therefore, adopting a positive language fosters positive thoughts. For most of us, speaking in a positive way requires a continuous and permanent change effort, but it is a rewarding one. The words we use in phone calls, written messages and video calls trigger different brain reactions. Words have a lot of strength and that is why we must choose them wisely!

In addition, great attention must be paid to the way we use the communication process. As in a face-to-face experience, the voice, the way we put our hands, the smile, the look and the body posture directly influence the interpretation of those who are listening. The way we communicate can suggest aggressiveness, availability, fatigue and many other interpretations. Very often, misunderstandings and conflicts are the result of the misalignment between these two areas of communication.

To minimize the frequency with which these situations arise, empathy (the ability to put yourself in the other's shoes) and emotional self-control is essential. If we all perceive different realities (not just now, but always), it is only possible to communicate effectively if: i) there is awareness that the perception / interpretation of reality is different from person to person and, ii) perform an exercise to approximate that position perspective, in which the other is. At the same time, it is essential to develop the ability to regulate and manage emotions. It is important to gain competence in the way emotions and feelings are expressed, because only in this way is the necessary flexibility established to deal with changes, conflicts and challenges, the mental clarity and the quality of relationships are maintained.

 

The above questions are decisive for keeping the team motivated and involved. But we cannot forget the employee as being unique with specific characteristics and needs. How can the company monitor the physical and mental well-being of each employee? Are there ways to monitor without being evasive?

In the specialty literature, many researchers advocate the idea that what truly separates effective leaders from ineffective leaders lies in the way and intensity that they really care about the people they lead. I would say that the quality of the relationship is fundamental. If the relationship is positive and / or evolves positively, everything improves. Above all, it is necessary for the leader to be able to build positive and constructive relationships with people / teams so that it is possible to monitor their physical and mental state, their well-being. The secret lies in the degree of depth and authenticity of the interactions. It is essential to be sensitive to the needs of others, listen carefully to others about how they feel and think, train and advise others comprehensively and invest personal time and energy in the development of each of the people on the team.

Have we managed, even with distant synergies, to continue to increase the happiness rate of people intervening in the work environment?

The concept of organizational happiness considers dimensions such as the professional's involvement with the organization and the role it performs, job satisfaction and a positive commitment to the organization and the function. In a happy organization, individuals have a positive attitude, willingness to go to work every day and the organization is appreciated and respected by the community in which it operates, which perceives its contribution to a better quality of life. Increasing the happiness index of people will greatly facilitate adaptation to the change we are experiencing and the adoption of a more constructive and even more productive posture. More than ever, we must speak of companies as if they have souls, minds and hearts. In fact, most people want to be part of their own company, want to know what the company's purpose is, want to make a difference. When each person's soul is connected to the company, people are connected to something deeper - wanting to contribute to a broader objective, feeling that they are part of a larger group.

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