In my previous blog I asked the question “do virtual team leaders get the followers they deserve?” and gave some examples of how leaders create a followership response in their people.
But it’s also worth thinking about it from the point of view of the individual; do we get the style of leadership we deserve??
In our virtual teams training when we talk about empowerment with virtual team members, we use the idea of “earning the right to be left alone”. In a virtual team, it’s easy to be out of sight and out of mind. If we don’t keep our leaders informed they may feel the need to check or interfere more.
If we want to be empowered, then as virtual team members we have to ask ourselves “How do we need to behave so that our leaders are confident to leave us to get on with our jobs?”
If we’re constantly escalating issues or seeking guidance then we are training our leaders to be more active in managing us. We may be creating our own future micromanagers.
Escalation is a useful indicator. When we escalate it is usually because we don’t have the capability or confidence to solve the issue for ourselves or we have breached a control level that’s been set by our organization (for example, sign off authority levels).
If it’s an area where we don’t have the capability (such as knowledge, skills, or judgement) then escalation is an opportunity to ask for more training or information so that in future you can solve it yourself.
If it’s a lack of confidence in taking on the issue you may want to discuss this with your boss and ask for some coaching to help you develop this confidence.
If it’s because you need to ask for approval, then why not ask for the permission to make this decision in future – the worst that can happen is that your boss says no, but they might say yes.
In each case escalation is an opportunity to single your willingness to take on more responsibility and manage your role yourself and gives you a chance to improve the confidence your manager has in you. The higher their confidence in you, the more you have earned the right to be empowered.
So exactly what style of virtual leader do you deserve?
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