"Normal life" may not be in the cards for a while yet, even with promising COVID-19 vaccines potentially on the way. That means we're all still committed to as much social distancing and self-quarantining as possible, including from our work colleagues. Meanwhile, our work lives go on — which means we've got to figure out how to manage and organize teams, people, and ourselves at a distance.
CNN's Kathryn Vasel spoke with some experts about how new managers especially can get on top of their duties despite having never met their coworkers in person. She found one common and powerful piece of advice that's relevant whether you're at the peak of your managerial career or the start of it: Just listen.
Anything you can do to get to know your employees is worth your time, Vasel points out. When you're no longer able to read body language or social cues, because of video chat or a typed interface like Slack, communicating well and creating space for your direct reports and colleagues is more vital than ever.
"If people know you, they don't read between the lines as much, but if they don't, they may well search for more information because trust is lower," professor Denise Rousseau told Vasel. "Lower trust, more vigilance, higher trust less vigilance."
In that vein, ask for feedback, set up one-on-one chats, allow for anonymous commenting, and do everything you can to diminish anxiety while maintaining professionalism. It may not feel normal yet, but it's a skill that will serve you no matter how we're all working in the future.