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How behavioral assessment tools can help you manage remote teams

Mar 28, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented fluidity for managers, who are unexpectedly trying to supervise teams who scattered to work from home.

Behavioral assessment tools can help managers keep employees scattered to home offices connected and manage them more effectively.

By helping managers understand motivating needs and drives of their employees and teams, tools like Predictive Index© can shed light on how to craft messaging and interactions that resonate with them and keep them connected to the organization.

Understand your remote employees

With a remote workforce, you have limited time interacting with your employees and discovering what makes them tick. It is important to leverage your behavioral assessment to learn about your employees’ drives, needs and natural work styles. It will help you understand how they like to work and be rewarded, as well as how to address these individual needs when conducting remote meetings.

Thoughts to consider:

  • Independent employees like to be provided with the “bigger picture” overview during meetings, while more collaborative employees will need encouragement to stay engaged.
  • Sociable employees will enjoy scheduling time throughout the day to connect virtually and make small talk, while more reserved employees will need time to reflect before making decisions. It is important to give them time to step away and ponder the facts.
  • When conducting a meeting, those with a lower level of patience will need a variety of topics and a faster pace, while those with a higher level of patience will appreciate encouragement and an understanding of the details of the plan at hand.
  • When interacting with employees who are very precise, give them time to get organized and provide clear, detailed instructions. Those who are flexible in their work styles will enjoy a casual and friendly form of communication.

Work better together as a team

For optimal team performance, it is helpful to understand group drives and behaviors. A focus on team dynamics will help you work with your team to create awareness of the communication, action and decision-making styles of the people on the team. Leadership can also design effective messaging for teams based upon their behavioral styles and influence positive communication and groupthink.

It is important to check-in with your team and ask, “How are we doing” to gauge each person’s thoughts and feelings. Reach out to your extroverted team members to ask, “Are there any team dynamics I should be aware of?” Employees who are more reserved will appreciate being asked, “Is your voice being heard and are there things that should be expressed to the broader team?”

Teams should focus on the three components of team dynamics: communication, taking action and decision-making to understand how each individual currently prefers to connect, implement action and come to alignment when making decisions.

Teams can focus on the answers to these questions to pave the way for current and future team goal setting:

  1. What should we start doing?
  2. What should we stop doing?
  3. What should we continue doing?

Effectively manage employees

Developing a coaching and personal development plan for managers to get the best from employees is essential during remote one-on-one interactions. It is important to have a consistent, scheduled check-in based upon the drives and needs of employees.

Given the current COVID-19 landscape and changing needs, you may be faced with a shift in team structures, working styles and business priorities. Managers are encouraged to ask the following questions to better mentor, manage employee stress and hold their employees accountable:

  • What do you think you could work on to provide the most value to the company right now?
  • How can you adapt your behaviors to better support your team, manager or other departments?
  • What articles, books, online courses and or webinars could assist you with staying current on your industry and/or profession?
  • How can we help you structure your day to maintain a work-life balance?

In addition, how you ask employees questions should shift based upon their behavioral styles. For example:

1. Independent: Have you taken time to engage and share ideas with others?
    Collaborative: What have you done in the past week that you’re proud of and would like recognition for?

2. Sociable: How are your family members doing?
    Reserved: Have you been able to build relationships with other employees while working remotely?

3. Flexible: I want to check in on [name] task. Did you find time to complete that task?
    Formal: Are you receiving the information you need to do your job?

4. Patient: How are you feeling about the change in pace of your work?
    Driving: Are you finding enough variety in your work right now?

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Author(s)

Heather L. Debelak
Senior Consultant
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