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Jacqui McGill AO

Non Executive Director

Importance of Connection when we are distant

 Importance of Connection when we are distant

Maintaining connection to your team when working at a distance is crucial right now, and after spending most of my career working remotely, I thought I would share my top tips for keeping you and your team engaged and productive.  

1.  Set aside time in your diary to call your team members.  Sounds simple doesn’t it? But there are some pitfalls and there is definitely a right way to do this.

 In my career I had the pleasure of working for many great leaders and there were some leaders who stood head and shoulders above the rest in terms of building rapport over distance.  They used many techniques to do this but one that stood out was how they mastered the social connection via phone.  They would reach out (usually after their work day had finished) and every time we talked, they left me feelings more motivated and engaged after the call.

When I reflected on how they achieved this, I noted the following;

  • They shared something about themselves, telling me about their family, etc. (Creating connection)
  • They had given thought as to how I may be going (They understood my context).
  • They never gave me a task to complete (it wasn’t a transaction)
  • We finished on a positive note.

Those leaders never left me feeling like I was on their to do list, I felt valued and looked forward to speaking to them. Compare that to a leader who only bother to call when they want something.

2. Building Connection via Video meetings.  A great way to start formal meetings is with a well being check-in.  Go around the table (virtual or otherwise) and ask everyone to rate out of 10 how they are feeling about home and work.  Set a good example by demonstrating your own vulnerability, share your challenges and motivators.  Over time this routine will encourage your team to bring their whole selves into the room and it will build rapport across the team.  It will also give you insight into your teams’ ups and downs.  This is a simple and effective tool that works well both face to face and over Video conferencing.

3. After hours emails. Just stop!   

Now many leaders love nothing better than clearing their inbox after hours – but take care if this means that you are in turn filling up your team members inboxes with work.  You can still clear yours – but set up your email settings to send them during work hours so you don’t break into their personal time.  By being deliberate about when you contact your team, you will encourage the same standard with their own team.  This will also ensure that when you do need them urgently, they understand the importance and respond positively.

Stay well!.  And I promise more regular blog updates this year.  Best Jacqui 




MBA, BSc (Extractive Metallurgy)

DAdel (Honoris Causa), GAICD

Adelaide, South Australia



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