Virtual Management And Just-In-Time Support: 6 Areas To Cover In Your Leadership Training

Virtual Management And Just-In-Time Support: 6 Areas To Cover In Your Leadership Training
Mr.Thanakorn Kotpootorn/
Summary: Virtual management is no easy task in the New Normal. Let’s look at 6 key supports to incorporate into your leadership training.

Virtual Management: Factors To Consider For Leadership Training

Any leadership training program for managers must recognize the diverse range of skills needed to become an effective manager. Also training now has to address the additional challenges of managing teams remotely and to facilitate up- and re-skilling as the business environment changes.

eBook Release: Leadership Training: How To Equip Leaders For Today's Challenges And The Future
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Leadership Training: How To Equip Leaders For Today's Challenges And The Future
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Key Areas To Cover In Leadership Online Training

1. Just-In-Time Leadership

In the complex environment of modern business traditional leadership training based on one-off classroom experiences isn’t enough. New challenges emerge quickly, whether it’s the pandemic, the IT revolution, or more sector-specific disruptors.  Leaders, managers, and their teams need to respond to them in a timely way. They can’t wait around for the next training course to be developed and scheduled. They need a way of acquiring just-in-time learning (for new skills and capabilities) that’s delivered in and adapted to their working environment.

And it’s not just about providing learning assets. Just-in-time leadership involves learning how to be proactive and receptive.  Management training needs to instill a sense of independence and self-confidence to allow leaders to be more responsive and take timely decisions. Fostering a new sense of belief and awareness in leaders enables them to develop those same competencies in the people they lead, giving them the skill sets to be more responsible for their own work and training needs.

A balance, though, has to be struck between personal responsibility and independence and the need to collaborate and work as a team. Clear communication of objectives and strategies allows everyone involved from leader to team to know their roles and responsibilities.

Just-in-time leadership then means not only training for leaders but also developing the skills of those you’re leading so that they have the mindset of self-leadership.

2. Managing Remote Teams

That balance between decisive independence and effective collaboration has been placed under stress during Covid. But even before the pandemic, there were disruptive forces in the form of new ICT tools and business models that were dispersing (and continuing to disperse) workforces. Managers are increasingly responsible for operations covering entire regions rather than just a department. Teams are not necessarily in the same country or time zone, let alone the same office. And though it’s tempting to feel that with modern technology, you can be everywhere and always accessible, the truth is that physical remoteness and lack of contact can lead to a sense of being unsupported, isolated, and powerless.

Organizations need to recognize the distinctive requirements and challenges faced in managing remote teams. That means putting in place new processes, training, and resources to upskill managers and not assuming existing training and practices are sufficient.

3. Tools And Strategies For Remote Managing

Remote management is not just another leadership competency. It requires constant vigilance and adjustment. You can’t make the same assumptions with a remote team that you did about local teams.  Attune your expectations to suit remote working. For example, remote management will be more effective if you focus on outcomes and objectives rather than time spent at the desk. Everyone in a remote team requires more flexibility, and that can deliver more innovative ways of working and tackling problems.

The very technology that serves to divide leaders from their teams can, if used correctly, enable the effective management of remote teams. Communication through Zoom, MS Teams, Skype, and so on is increasingly becoming the norm. Regular, scheduled update calls allow team members and their managers to share their work and maintain contact. But you have to ensure everyone has access to the same level of ICT support and resources so they don’t slip under the radar or feel undervalued.

Yet, the apparent ease of communication and access can mean you overlook the social challenges of remote working. Shared workspaces are social environments. That loss of socialization can lead to a sense of isolation and indifference that can affect people’s emotional stability. Some organizations arrange online happy hours or pizza parties as a way of trying to replicate the lack of social interaction.

It’s a fine line between encouraging and facilitating independence and maintaining the bond between leaders and their teams and between individual members of that team. The ability of managers to empathize is critical in preserving the health and cohesiveness of remote teams. Promoting dialogue is key, as is being receptive to others and recognizing signs of distress. Develop direct channels to foster trust and mutual understanding.

4. Developing JIT Leadership Training Just In Time

Managing a remote team in a pandemic was surely in no one’s Leadership 101 course before, but it’s instructive to see how quickly and effectively many organizations adapted. E-learning catalogues for leadership training have been swiftly updated and enhanced to cover management in a time of crisis.

The theory behind just-in-time learning – providing the most current and accurate information to learners at the point of need – has been around for a long time. But recent innovations in technology married to trusted learning strategies have made JIT possible.

Constant, reliable access to just-in-time resources provide leaders with the support they need. This can mean a quick micro-lesson in the soft skills required to settle a conflict.  Or it could be a short blog on tools to make team communication or project management more effective. It could be a link to a short YouTube video on how to give a presentation.  Or a new module added to an e-learning management training suite on new ways of working.

Any and all of these resources can be enabled for mobile access meaning they’re accessible to you wherever you happen to be. Microlearning delivers nuggets of learning that can be consumed in a spare moment or at a pinch. Digital learning resources can be stored and curated in an LXP so that you know they’re reliable.

5. Just-In-Time For All

Just-in-time support doesn’t just mean creating resources for managers’ leadership training but also providing access to JIT resources for the people they manage. This can mean upskilling someone to operate a new machine or adopt a new work practice for the first time. Retail staff can learn about the latest products. Traveling sales staff can get briefed on relevant subject matter just before meeting a client. Call-center employees can refresh or update their knowledge of services and directly access tips for better customer engagements.

Knowing that your team has access to the support and resources to do their jobs relieves managers of major responsibility and encourages the team to take responsibility for its own actions and training. This leaves leaders to concentrate on their primary duty of managing performance and empowering their teams to perform effectively. And it gives them time to upskill and meet their own learning needs.

6. Creating And Adapting A Training Library

E-learning catalogues offer a good place to start building your library of leadership training for managers.  The modules are topical, authoritative, and engaging. Catalogues are constantly updated and expanded to meet the training needs of modern managers. Content can be repurposed and chunked for microlearning to deliver JIT learning in the workflow and on the go. E-learning assets are easy to customize and can be tailored for an organization’s culture and work practices and for the particular requirements of sectors or departments.

But your library needn’t and shouldn’t be limited to e-learning modules. Using an LXP helps put learning resources into action. LXPs not only allow you to deliver learning across devices and make them mobile, but they also allow you to expand the range of formats and enable you to capture the learning and experience of your leaders and teams via user-generated content. AI-powered features enable intelligent searching and deliver recommendations for new learning as well as notifications of regular content updates. The social-media-like environment facilitates collaboration and social learning to strengthen the bond and communication between leaders and their teams to help overcome the challenges of remote working.

Just In Time: Anticipating The Future Of Work

The world of work is changing and we have to look forward.  In the midst of disruption and innovation leaders and their teams need support and training or face a widening skills gap. There’s an urgent need for just-in-time leadership training for managers to position them to meet emerging challenges.

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