How Bad Virtual Habits Can Become Powerful Leadership Tools

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The leadership habits you developed in the era of virtual meetings can be transformed into powerful leadership skills.

In the space of a few short years, we went from virtual leadership from being an occasional convenience, to being an essential, regular part of how you lead. And while well-managed virtual leadership can extend your leadership, all too often bad habits can creep in that can undermine your leadership efforts.

For optimal leadership performance, learn to overcome limiting habits that can creep in through extended virtual leadership. As a starting place, here are 4 essential principles to prioritize…

1. Focus, focus, focus.

Virtual leadership has exposed the leadership tendency for attention to wander.

Leaders can be caught looking at another screen, busying themselves with paperwork or checking their phone. It’s annoying, and it’s poor leadership. And for some leaders, these bad habits have worked their way into every corner of their leadership.

To be an effective leader, let your team know they have your full attention.

2. If you want to be taken seriously, be prepared.

“Can everybody see my screen? I can never figure out how to share my screen. Can you see it now? Hang on, let me try something else…”

The era of virtual leadership exposed poor preparation in many leaders. This lack of preparation was bad enough in virtual meetings, but unchecked, this habit of poor preparation can spill over into other areas of leadership too. 

To be an effective leader, in whatever you’re doing, show your team that you’re prepared and you’re not figuring things out on the fly.

3. You need to lead everybody, not just a select few.

One of the worst leadership habits exposed in virtual leadership has been the tendency to hold one-on-one conversations while everyone else sits there disengaged.

Whether virtually or in person,, you must engage with everyone, not just one or two insiders.

4. As a leader, give yourself, and others, margin.

How did we end up scheduling online meetings back-to-back-to-back-to-back?

As you lead, take a lesson from this painful practice. Make sure you, and those you lead, have room to breathe.

Our world has changed, and today leaders have quickly come to realize that a good portion of their leadership platform is in a virtual environment. So, take the time to reflect on the leadership learnings our shift to a virtual world has provided.

You may find yourself in fewer online meetings than before, but if you’ve been paying attention, the lessons from this season can enhance your leadership.

Because how you have led virtually can make a big difference in how you lead in-person.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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