How to Lead Remote Teams in Crisis – In Just 7 Minutes with Liz Wiltsie

Check out episode
  • Discover how to gain massive upticks of respect from your subordinates but still be human especially in this time of crisis
  • Learn the challenges business owners face in converting everything from physical into digital space with basically no practice and no warning
  • Learn why being an extreme micromanager is a pitfall when managing teams remotely and how it puts pressure to everyone from the top on down to prove that they’re doing work

Resources/Links:

Summary

In response to the pandemic, organizations allowed their employees to work from home, and flexible work arrangements became the new normal.

But the sudden shift from physical to digital space and indefinite length of this period have caused anxiety and uncertainty to business leaders and owners.

Businesses are forced to adapt to changes overnight, management worries on how to manage remote teams and maintain productivity — what’s perhaps most at risk in this strange new world of work.

Liz Wiltsie is a trauma-informed leadership development coach and consultant with diverse industry experience. Liz’s super-power is breaking complex topics down into actionable insight.

In this episode, Liz shares how she and her company, Sentendre, helps business owners build communities where people feel profoundly seen and understood at work.

Check out these episode highlights:

  • 01:32 – Liz’s ideal client: “My ideal client is people who want to be better leaders of remote teams. That’s pretty simple.”
  • 01:43 – Problem Liz helps solve: “The main problem is that people don’t know how to lead remote teams effectively, particularly at a moment of global crisis.”
  • 02:10 – Typical symptoms that clients do before reaching out to Liz: “So, one is a lack of morale now that you are not in physical space together. The second is an enormous pressure to just be business as usual, to be able to convert everything that you used to do into digital space with basically no practice and no warning. And then the third is a feeling of being overwhelmed by a lot of new technology at once.”
  • 03:13 – What are some of the common mistakes that folks make before finding Liz and her solution?: “One of the things that they do is that they assume that there’s a one-to-one translation between physical space and digital space. And they try to make the same things work.”
  • 06:27 – Liz’s Valuable Free Action(VFA): “I’ve seen people have massive upticks in respect of their team just by admitting that like they’re a real person in this moment.”
  • 07:45 – Liz’s Valuable Free Resource (VFR): Cheat Sheet with 4 Keys to Modeling Accountability: https://go.sentendremethod.com/MTI
  • 08:00 – Q: Are these practices relevant outside of a crisis?? A: Yes, they are.” And that there’s a whole lot of things that we’re doing now and reimagining how work looks and how we support people that I think should absolutely continue once the danger has passed.

Tweetable Takeaways from this Episode:

“Leaders need to show that they're real. Not leaning too far into the mistake, and allowing people to have actual human responses.'” -@wiltsie Click To Tweet

Transcript
(Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)

Tom Poland: 0:09
Hello everyone, and a very warm welcome to another edition of Marketing The Invisible. My name is Tom Poland, joined today by Liz Wiltsie. Liz, good day, very warm welcome. Where are you hanging out?

Liz Wiltsie: 0:19
Thanks for having me, Tom. I’m in Los Angeles, California.

Tom Poland:0:21
L.A. and we’re all hunkered down and shut down, and a lockdown in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, which is incredibly apt because Liz’s superpower is breaking complex subjects down into actionable insight. We’ve worked a lot together, full disclosure, but that’s why I’ve invited Liz onto the show, because we had a massive, massive, massive major project, which would never have been completed if it wasn’t for Liz. She has this true; I call it a dog-cat power where she can see the big picture, but she can also identify the details that need to be gotten out of the line. So that’s a little bit of a background.

Tom Poland: 1:02
For those of you don’t know, Liz, her company’s Sentendre, builds communities where people feel profoundly seen and understood at work. And what’s even more apt in a Covid-19 climate but equally as relevant after and before is, how to build remote teams in crisis? Which is the title of our interview, “How to Lead Remote Teams in Crisis,” and Liz is going to show us how to do that in just seven minutes. Liz, rock and roll time, our time starts now. Question number one is, who is your ideal client?

Liz Wiltsie: 1:32
My ideal client is people who want to be better leaders of remote teams. That’s pretty simple.

Tom Poland: 1:38
Perfect. So, we’ve got almost seven minutes left. What’s the problem you solve? Question number two.

Liz Wiltsie: 1:43

So, the main problem is that people don’t know how to lead remote teams effectively, particularly at a moment of global crisis, but really kind of ever.

Tom Poland: 1:54
Right. That’s so true and again, very succinct. So, six and a half minutes left, what are some of the typical symptoms that we’ve got from people who either want to lead a global team, or want to create a global team, how do they know they need your services? What’s going on?

Liz Wiltsie: 2:10
Yeah. So, you could make a laundry list, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll go with the top three.

So, one is a lack of morale now that you are not in physical space together. The second is an enormous pressure to just be business as usual, to be able to convert everything that you used to do into digital space with basically no practice and no warning. And then the third is a feeling of being overwhelmed by a lot of new technology at once. So those are the top three kind of symptoms.

Tom Poland: 2:47
Right. That would make perfect sense. So, question number four, and we’ve got five minutes left. People who are leading remote teams are going to try stuff and because they haven’t done it before, because they haven’t worked with people like you, they’re going to make mistakes. So, what I’m interested now is, what are some of the common mistakes that people are making before they find your services? Because this could save people a lot of…

Liz Wiltsie: 3:13

Yeah. So, one of the things that they do is that they assume that there’s a one to one translation between physical space and digital space. And they try to make the same things work.

Tom Poland: 3:27
Right.

Liz Wiltsie: 3:28
So that’s one.

Tom Poland: 3:29
So, what we did physically, we just do that digitally now. And it’ll work the same. Big mistake. Thank you.

Liz Wiltsie: 3:35

And then, another one is extreme micromanagement. So, one of the ways this shows up is this sort of pressure that everyone feels, from the top on down, to prove that they’re doing work.

So, it’s like, you know, things, and some of our technology actually really, really plays into this. That sort of synchronous communication where I need you to respond to me immediately, or I think you’re not working. When really like a lot of people, their technology gets in their way. So that micromanagement tendency, if you had one in physical space, you’re probably a gremlin in digital space at this point. So that’s another big mistake.

Liz Wiltsie: 4:23

And then, another one is this sort of what some folks on the internet are calling toxic positivity. The notion of, there’s a silver lining, everything will be great, this is happening for a reason.

And all of that is useful, but leaders need to show that they’re real. So not leaning too far into that mistake, and allowing people to have actual human responses. So those are my top three.

Tom Poland: 4:52
Right, all right. So toxic positivity, very clever. All right. So, we’ve got three minutes left. Just under three minutes left. Question number five is, what’s one valuable free action, a top tip that someone could take, that’s listening to this that’s going to help them lead a remote team?

Liz Wiltsie: 5:08
Yeah. So, I run a leadership community and I have seen folks doing what I’m going to tell you, and having it change how their team is interacting. And it dovetails off of the toxic positivity piece that I was saying, which is the biggest thing you can do is recognize your own humanity in this moment to say, “I’m not okay.” Like, I can be okay sometimes but we are in this moment going through a global collective trauma. And people who study trauma will say that trauma is defined as too much too fast. And if there was ever a thing that describes COVID-19, it is too much too fast.

Liz Wiltsie: 5:55
And when you think about survival responses, our way of life globally is being threatened in lots of ways. We don’t know where our economies are going to come out. The city of Los Angeles that I’m in is completely shut down. On top of the fact that people have varying degrees of fear for their physical safety at this point, whether you’re kind of a hypochondriac style person or not, it’s hard not to go, “Am I getting it, am I sick?” I think I’ve got allergies, and I’m not sure.

Liz Wiltsie: 6:27
And so, in all of that to go, “Okay, this is impacting me.” And as a leader to admit to your team that it is impacting you, and allow some space for people to, I’m not saying that you as their leader need to be their therapist, because you’re not trained for that. And that’s not necessarily what you should be doing.

But holding space for people to not be okay and not to expect that we have to have business as usual. That the exact amount of output you had before is what you can have now, because that’s just not realistic. And I’ve seen it. I’ve seen people have massive upticks in respect of their team just by admitting that like they’re a real person in this moment.

Tom Poland: 7:17
Great tip. Thank you. One minute left two questions. One valuable free resource we could direct people to. A landing page, a URL?

Liz Wiltsie: 7:25
Yeah. So, I have created something and it is available to Marketing The Invisible listeners. And it goes into the complete opposite direction, which is totally logistical, which is to say what are the cheat sheet of ways to run better zoom meetings?

Tom Poland: 7:41
Give us the link because we got like 40 seconds left with two questions.

Liz Wiltsie: 7:45
Okay. It’s go.sentendremethod.com/MTI. Sentendre is S-E-N-T-E-N-D-R-E.

Tom Poland: 7:54
Perfect. Thank you. 30 seconds for the last question. Question number seven is, what’s the one question I should have asked you, but didn’t?

Liz Wiltsie: 8:00
Yeah, I think you should ask, are these practices relevant outside of a crisis? And I will say, “Yes, they are.” And that there’s a whole lot of things that we’re doing now and reimagining how work looks and how we support people that I think should absolutely continue once the danger has passed.

Tom Poland: 8:18
Liz Wiltsie, thanks so much for your time and wisdom.

Liz Wiltsie: 8:20
Thank you.

Tom Poland: 8:22
Thanks for checking out our Marketing The Invisible podcast. If you like what we’re doing here please head over to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave us a review. It’s very much appreciated. And if you want to generate five fresh leads in just five hours then check out www.fivehourchallenge.com.

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