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How many of you are wearing pajama bottoms right now on your zoom call? The virtual workplace has its advantages and challenges. One of those challenges being, will my leadership style get the same results it once did? Check out these thoughts and traits on how to move forward and bring your team with you.


Collaborative Leaders are needed now more than ever in a virtual environment.


Leadership is, at its core, about people connecting with people. Fostering an environment of more heart-centered communication between owners, managers, and employees are key to realizing better performance and improved engagement especially when leading in a virtual environment. For decades we have debated the pros and cons of working in a virtual space but few organizations have made the leap until forced to with COVID-19. Why did we hesitate? In many ways, it was fear that employees would not be productive and the lack of control that leaders felt they had. Or perhaps the lack of connection the leader would have with their team. Regardless, we are all in this new normal and I suspect that the Genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to put her back. So how do we master leadership from afar?

Stepping into any leadership position takes courage, motivation, and a healthy measure of emotional intelligence. If you choose to do so, this might require expanding your capacity to lead with empathy and authenticity. Occasionally, great leadership may require pushing yourself outside a familiar comfort zone.

Are you cut out to effectively lead in a virtual environment? The following traits are true signposts of a wiser and more collaborative form of leadership:


1. Being A Good Listener.

It’s no coincidence that “listen” and “silent” represent an anagram. Effective leaders listen to understand, pause before speaking, are fully present in a conversation and have a knack for picking up nonverbal cues especially in a virtual environment.

2. Possessing Moral Courage.

Simply put: Do the right thing even when it might be easier or faster not to. Trust that taking the ethical path always pays off in the long run.

3. Asking Better Questions.

Significant and meaningful insight can be gleaned by asking thoughtful questions. A leader acquires a tremendous amount of information from asking questions and talking less. This approach will also win the hearts of employees, as you’ll be viewed as a leader who understands the perspectives of others and cares enough to ask others for their opinions.

4. Offering Support.

Serve those you’re leading not the other way around. Part of your job as a leader is to remove barriers to success by observing what might be standing in the way of employees’ achieving their goals. Be able to determine how you can facilitate their progress without eliminating their accountability.

5. Relinquishing Control.

There are times when seizing the reins is appropriate, but on other occasions letting go can be invaluable. By relinquishing control, you empower employees and create opportunities for them to build confidence and self-esteem and become engaged.

When you are consciously aware of your thoughts and your responses — and that they account for some of the challenges you face — you have taken the first step in building emotional resilience.

Feel free to reach out with a question!

Susan Steinbrecher and Robert Schaefer, PH.D.


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