If you have a team working remotely, it is good practice to make a weekly follow-up checklist with them. Whether you’re a team manager or another member part of a team working remotely, it’s very important to have feedback sessions as part of the job. It may take a while to make everyone feel at ease in a virtual meeting, so counting on some tips to break the ice while having these online meetings can help too.
OBJECTIVE: understand the emotional state of the people on your team during this unprecedented remote working situation.
Ask your team while working remotely:
- How do you feel during the first week of remote work?
- Is the space you have at home comfortable for you during working hours?
- How are you managing your breaks?
- What would you say has been the biggest burden in this situation?
- How do you feel about the possibility of it dragging on? Have you felt enough connection with your manager?
- Have you felt enough connection with your team?
- Do you feel that the tasks you are carrying out are adapted to the new situation?
- Do you have the feeling of having lots of time without tasks?
- What advantages would you highlight from this situation?
- Do you have the right tools to do your job well?
- Name two positive and two negative aspects of working remotely
- How do you consider your productivity has been affected by this change?
- Do you think you have enough information about the Coronavirus to know what to do in case of contagion?
Hold individual meetings
The questionnaire shown above can be done during a video call or sent to each team member so they can answer it by email with their ideas and comments. It’s essential to receive feedback from your team in order to assess how the project is evolving.
This checklist doesn’t contain closed-ended questions. On the contrary, it’s made to facilitate active feedback so that the team leaves meaningful comments with ideas, tools, and feelings relevant to your project.
Excessive communication channels? Too many unresolved tasks?
Feedback should allow you to review your processes and tools in order to help your team achieve their goals. Remember that as a leader, your main mission is to serve your team– give them the tools and processes that’ll help them to be more productive.
What to do once you have their answers?
If there’s negative feedback or serious issues you must respond as soon as possible. Don’t let a bad situation escalate or create productivity problems.
For the rest of the feedback, make groups and have team meeting sessions to share common issues. Your team should participate in the decision-making process and have a say in the plans you put in place to solve any problems that have been detected.
The is the most effective tip we can offer. Positive reinforcement has a much greater impact on individuals and also increases their self-confidence, motivation, and commitment to the team.
Your natural tendency will be to address people when they do something wrong (it seems more urgent to correct than to praise), but you should strive to find situations where you can give them positive feedback. Don’t praise employees just for good results, also do it for behaviors that generate good results.
Positive feedback (recognition) is a powerful motivational tool that we also discuss in other posts. These are the rules for doing it correctly:
- Recognize the achievement immediately. If you let time pass, any acknowledgement will have less impact.
- Do it honestly. Never fake it because your team will notice. Really feel the compliment.
- Describe exactly what has been done well. Specify the event, behavior, or achievement.
- Never invalidate the compliment. Avoid expressions like “it’s about time,” “but,” “though,” “for the first time,” “finally,” etc.
- Describe the positive impact that it has on the team, the company and the clients.
- Express your satisfaction.
The more immediate the feedback is, the greater the impact it has.
- Give feedback for each action. If many go by without word, it means that you aren’t following the previous rule.
- Prepare your feedback before giving it. Critiques can’t be improvised, everything you say must be carefully thought out in advance because it’s a situation where every detail counts. Sometimes the difference between good and bad feedback is just one word.
- Always do it in private. Never give negative feedback in public.
- Be clear and direct. Get to the point. Don’t complicate the message. Don’t patronize. Speak as a teammate.
- Do it constructively. Explain how to make things better. Otherwise, why are you doing it?
- Avoid arguments. Talk about “indisputable” things.
- Talk about the facts, not the person. “You’ve been late three days in a row” (indisputable) instead of “you’re lazy” (debatable).
- Don’t judge, describe: “This report is missing the January sales figure” (indisputable) instead of “this report is wrong” (debatable).