24 collaboration celebrations – No. 3
Friday afternoon, on the 3rd of December 2021, I am sitting here feeling grateful for all the wonderful people I have in my life and the different ways they touch me, and I am grateful for working in a company that lives and breathe empathetic leadership. 💖
💡Inspired by my colleague Mårten Hellebro sharing an article about empathetic leadership I chose todays topic for my blog: Empathy Is The Most Important Leadership Skill According To Research (forbes.com) 🦸🏽♀️🦸🏽♂️🦸🏽
”“We desperately need more leaders who are committed to courageous, wholehearted leadership and who are self-aware enough to lead from their hearts, rather than unevolved leaders who lead from hurt and fear.””– Brené Brown
Empathetic leadership, a talent or learned skill?
🛣️”Everybody knows” that happy people are great contributors and are more equipped to be innovative and collaborative. Still, we are not all there yet, we struggle to lead empathetically, we hear about work conflicts, read about people in court cases with their companies, and many companies restructuring their offices, teams and companies to be able to work in a hybrid and a faster moving world. It can be hard to keep up and in the heat of the moment to be a caring and empathetic leader. Or, is it really hard, or haven’t we just not learnt the right tools?
🥰I do not know the answers to what would make your people happy and your company thrive. The answer is with you and your people. What I do know is how I am feeling as an team member, leader and employee at our company. I see what is working in our company and with customers who succeeds. And a common nominator is EMPATHY; to really care for the people, the hearts and minds of the company.
🦄”Are we supposed to be all gooey, spreading love glitter and walk on eggshells to not make anyone upset?”, you might wonder. Absolutely not! It’s about the points below, and probably more. Please feel free to comment what you think!
1 . Take charge!
🏛️I heard somewhere as a new mom that we are like walls for our children, if we are constantly changing the rules, and the frameworks, we’ll be like a wall without connection to the roof and floor, and they can not lean into it when they struggle, as the wall will give in. If we are connected to the floor and roof it will take a lot for the wall to budge, and they can lean into it when tired, when they are stumbling or just goofing around, they are safe. The same principle goes for leadership. If I as a leader, or my leaders, define the space, the visions and why we exists as a company (roof) and clear guidelines (floor), I and my colleagues, and other leaders, know in which space we can move and how.
This means that as leaders we need to take the leading responsibility, we need to make decisions, even if they are not popular, to stand firm in storms for our people, and do whatever we need to do to make our team succeed. We are leaders not to earn stars and stripes for ourselves, we are leaders to serve our teams, so they shine.
🦸🏽Take YOUR place as a leader, you are stronger than you think you are! Someone has assigned you to the role because they believe in you as a leader.
- Start believe it yourself too! You don’t have to be careful, or fit in, or be popular.
- Keep making mistake, even celebrate mistakes!
- Learn from other leaders, don’t compare yourself to them, only to yourself
- Use your experience, skills and knowledge to lead, especially your personal earlier hardships are golden to use to understand and help colleagues and employees going through hardships
- Embrace yourself as leader and embrace your team
2. One for all – all for one
Trust your people first. You gain trust by trusting.
We know we’ve got each others back and support and leverage each other. I trust my team and my leaders got my back if I get in trouble or make mistake, I know I can ask for advice, and I do the same to them.
3. Amplify the individuals
💡This was one of the first unique things I realized when joining CloudWay; they wanted my blog on their webpage, not a blog that had been “companified”. As Ståle Hansen said; CloudWay is the people working here, we want to amplify our people and their unique voices, and if you later choose a different path, you keep what you have shared.
🙏🏽Although I haven’t been that active in blogging, just the idea and knowledge that I was free to write whatever I want and it is automatically “approved” because I am who I am, an employee that CloudWay want, is for me a sign of trust that inspires and motivates me to be the best version of me that I can, and make whatever I do well. ✨
🧑🏽💻Of course, writing good blogs is a skill that has to be learnt, and I have been blessed with skilled and generous communicators both in current company and previous ones, that have taught me a lot about writing. And, I will still ask my peers for quality check. At the same time, not being able to share thoughts in the moment you have them, can kill the inspiration. I guess the key here is to find good balance.
🔥The whole onboarding and understanding the philosophy in CloudWay was an eyeopener for me; here it is! A company that shows in real life what empathetic leadership is. Too many times we try to fit in, to become the company, which is an impossible task. You and I, we are the unique individuals we are, with everything we are, with everything we know and understand, with everything we are capable of, we are not machines, and we come in all shapes and forms. The company becomes us. The company is us, the ever evolving, growing and innovating “us”, what we are today and what we are tomorrow.🥰
4. Invest in knowledge and skilling
📚Nobody knows tomorrow. Still, if we have paid attention in class, we can see some patterns in the nearest future. Even if we don’t see all of the road ahead, and perhaps that is a good thing, we know there are some knowledge and skilling that is useful for tomorrow and the days after. The longer we wait to update our people with the right digital skilling and knowledge, new innovation with different expertise areas, etc.., the bigger the backlog. 🚀
🕯️Investing in skilling and knowledge gaining in your team is win-win-win on so many levels. I don’t quite understand why so many companies are reluctant to give their peoples the training they need for tomorrow.
E.U. Digital Competency Framework 2.0 – a great place to start
📑The E.U. Digital Competency Framework gives a good overview of expected digital skills for tomorrow.
- 1 Information and data literacy: To articulate information needs, to locate and retrieve digital data, information and content. To judge the relevance of the source and its content. To store, manage, and organize digital data, information and content.
- 2 Communication and collaboration: To interact, communicate and collaborate through digital technologies while being aware of cultural and generational diversity. To participate in society through public and private digital services and participatory citizenship. To manage one’s digital identity and reputation.
- 3 Digital content creation: To create and edit digital content To improve and integrate information and content into an existing body of knowledge while understanding how copyright and licenses are to be applied. To know how to give understandable instructions for a computer system.
- 4 Safety: To protect devices, content, personal data and privacy in digital environments. To protect physical and psychological health, and to be aware of digital technologies for social well-being and social inclusion. To be aware of the environmental impact of digital technologies and their use.
- 5 Problem solving: To identify needs and problems, and to resolve conceptual problems and problem situations in digital environments. To use digital tools to innovate processes and products. To keep up-to-date with the digital evolution.
Get data about your company’s shared knowledge and skilling, both factual and subjective
📊Using the different tools in Microsoft 365, such as Usage reports, SharePoint Usage report, Productivity score, Compliance score can give overview of how your people are using the tools.
📋In addition I would highly recommend to send surveys at a regular basis to either the full organization, or to selected groups representing the different parts of the organization, to get the subjective temperature. Ask questions such as how comfortable they are working with certain tools, whether they know where to find certain things, if they know who to ask if they need help, and other relevant questions, preferably using Forms, with “likert” (strongly agree, agree, don’t agree, strongly don’t agree – type of questions), and questions that are countable in numbers. Do leave a comment field or two, many times I have used the golden nuggets from these to show leader groups “This is what your employees experiences”. Use the 5 points of the E.U. Digital Competency Framework to create some questions which will show where your people are on a scale from 2-10. Do this regularly, and change actions if there is little or no effect, such as active use of the tools and good collaboration. 📈📉📝
Invest in and give room for training
- Spend wisely, ensure training quality:
- Figure out what kind of training your people need, and use a bigger percentage of what you want to give to your people on continuous training and skilling. This is the one gift that continues to give long after it is given, both for the company in the form of smarter and more clever people, as well as for the employee.
- When my company invest in first class training and give that to me the signal it send me is that my leaders believe in me, they want to invest in me, they appreciate me and see potential I might not see myself.
- Set off time for training and knowledge gaining
- Don’t look at training and knowledge gaining during work hours as loss of work hours (or invoice hours), look at it as investment in your employee, for business improvement.
- Set off dedicated and measurable time for training and knowledge gaining
- Measure training and knowledge gaining
- There are several tools for this.
- Define KPIs and targets for training and knowledge gaining
- Provide portals for knowledge sharing and collecting knowledge and insights
- Ref. blog no.1 and 2 24 Collaboration celebrations
5. Enable your people to work from anywhere
As long as you are working in digital tools, there is no reason to not let people work from home, or anywhere they might want to work. One of the many benefits of this is that you can choose employees from everywhere. It is up to you to define what kind of people you want and need in your team.
I joined CloudWay in the middle of the pandemic, and a few months after I realized that I wanted to move from Oslo to the west coast of Norway, as this would give me better life quality. My leaders accepted and said that if that enables me to have a good work-life they would not stand in the way. I feel deeply privileged to have this possibility. It helps of course that we only have office in the cloud, still, as my customers are around the world, it doesn’t matter that much for them if I am in Oslo or at Stadt. It matter a lot for me. 🏖️💗🏞️
🛫With transport possibilities, like several airports not too far away, I can be in Oslo, London or Paris, for that matter, in pretty much no time. It just have to be a bit more planned than before. It has been really smooth working from home under such conditions. 🗺️ #TheWorldIsMyPlayground
🌅Companies wanting to be attractive tomorrow will gain on being flexible when it comes to working situation. It is challenging and difficult to reinvent ourself like that. However, by adding the “good will” and empathetic leadership, it is possible to find a good way for your workforce.
6. Explore Microsoft Viva Insights
Microsoft Viva Insights is a powerful tool that enables managers to better take care of their employees digital wellbeing.
And “No!” – it is not about surveilling what people are doing. Managers with less than 10 people in their team will not get any data. The graph in the background is using already accessible data and is compliant to GDPR. The manager cannot see what the individual team member is doing or not doing. The manager dashboard gives trends and patterns when it comes to collaboration, communication and work, as well as suggested actions based on these trends and patterns. The suggested actions are meant to improve the employees digital wellbeing.
Read more about Microsoft Viva Insights:
- Improve Employee Wellbeing | Microsoft Viva Insights
- Viva Insights in Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs
- O365Eh!: Viva Insights for individuals with Ståle Hansen (cloudway.com)
- Microsoft Viva Blog – Microsoft Tech Community
- Microsoft Viva Insights | Improve productivity and wellbeing | Demo and tutorial, including set-up – YouTube
And more about Microsoft Productivity score:
- ❗Please feel free to suggest other blogs, YouTube videos and podcasts about these topics! #SharingIsCaring
💖Happy weekend peeps, take care of yourself and each other, stay safe and enjoy the moments! Life is here and now! 💖
If you have any questions, scroll down and you know what to do! You can also contact me directly either via SoMe and/or via my employers contact form on our web page: Workshops – Cloudway. We are running great workshops covering these topics. We can help you, and your partners, to remove blockers on your way to the cloud! We love to share what we know – to help everyone having secure productivity in the cloud!
Ask me a question!
Thank you to those who have gave me their suggestions. If YOU would like to nominate a topic, please feel free to do so completing this form, or scan the QR-code added on this page.