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What is the most difficult challenge for a team manager right now?

For leaders whose teams normally share an office, this can present a host of new challenges: How can one lead effectively when employees are greeting each other with instant messages rather than handshakes? When meetings are held via Microsoft Teams rather than face-to-face? 

Staša Kotnik, Team Manager at Adacta about remote work challenges.

As a team manager, your main work is to manage 11 people who are in charge of the implementation of complex IT solutions. You are known as a manager who has the best team leadership practices which you apply to your team on a daily basis. With the recent switch from office work to working from home, how are you managing your team?

As a team lead, I place great emphasis on personal relationships and direct communication. I rely a lot on the energy that people radiate, which is why personal contact is even more important. For me personally, it was much easier to detect potential problems and above all to feel the vibe of the team when we all worked in the same room. And finally, this made it easier for me to get to know each team member as a person.
I was never an ‘e-mail only’ type of manager, therefore remote work represents some challenges for me. But being a stubborn and goal-orientated person, I continually look for solutions that will help me keep my team unified and motivated. Which is why we have continued with our daily standups (well, most of us probably sit in front of our computers now :)). The only difference is that previously these meetings lasted around 15 minutes and now, they last up to an hour – which is an hour well spent. A lot more calls and texts sent via Microsoft Teams channels are also part of my daily routine now.

What is the most difficult challenge for a team manager right now?

Communication would probably be the most obvious answer, but with the different tools available for communication, this one is easier to solve. In my opinion, maintaining team cohesion is a much bigger challenge. Being part of a cohesive team has positive effects on our self-esteem, satisfaction and finally productivity. So, one of my main goals these days is to keep looking for ways to maintain that team spirit.

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Photo from their first remote daily meeting

What are the pros of working from home?

With working from home, we have more flexibility, as we can work when we feel most productive. We also save time that used to be spent in traffic and we can wear whatever we want :). We also have more flexibility in establishing a work-life balance, if we possess enough self-discipline.

How do you motivate your employees now?

I’m still working on it :). Most importantly, people need to remember what they enjoy about their work, so now it is essential to help them focus on tasks that they can be successful at. They need to have goals, and my goal is to help them to be successful. They also need to feel valued, so a “Thank you” and “Great job”, when you really mean it can make a big difference. And as I mentioned before, maintaining that team spirit will help us in these challenging times.

Staša Kotnik, Team Manager at Adacta

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