The global pandemic hasn’t just upended our world, but we have all been thrust into virtual communications in a make-or-break way that raises a question most of us haven’t had to think hard about before: How do we project our leadership presence through virtual means when many employees have become remote workers?
It’s been one of the key leadership challenges I’ve been hearing a lot from many of the senior executives in my network.
Whether it is a phone call that didn’t go as planned or a miscommunication over email, or an embarrassing moment on a video conference, we haven’t had to think deeply about what went wrong virtually in the past.
We’ve been able to shrug it off and keep going. The bottom line? We rely on technology to help us connect more than ever, especially now, but many of us are struggling and even doing it badly.
Although we know instinctively that talking with someone virtually is not the same as connecting in person, we don’t know how to compensate for the difference. But the cost in fractured relationships, missed opportunities, and lost connections can be significant.
It’s not just that the world has gone virtual, but that the world is besieged by COVID-19, and experiencing an economic meltdown, and thus the degree of uncertainty and ambiguity has increased exponentially. These are all challenging enough in themselves for leaders to deal with face-to-face, but now we must address them in a virtual way. Leaders need to communicate strategic clarity, to show empathy for employees who are fearful of losing their jobs, to bring people together and align them towards a common goal, and to instill a sense of purpose, optimism and confidence in the future.
All of this was already hard enough in the past. Now you need to do this all virtually. For some, these new expectations will represent a significant stretch in their leadership capabilities.
As a result, I reached out to Dr. Nick Morgan, one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches, and author of Can You Hear Me? (published by Harvard Business Review in 2018), a book on virtual communication. I wanted to see if we could bring our combined expertise to help all leaders today improve their stronger leadership presence in our virtual world.
I am happy to share the product of our collaboration, our eBook entitled, Leadership Presence in a Virtual World.
Let me know your thoughts.
This week’s Gut Check for Leaders asks: How strong is your leadership presence right now?
©2020 Dr. Vince Molinaro (Leadership Contract Inc.)