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We teamed up with local business owner Shanieree Dames, owner of The Dames Group LLC, for advice on effective leadership during an unprecedented era. Leading the Dames Group, Shaneiree is an organizational and development professional known for her change management expertise. Keep reading for insightful advice on how leaders can pivot and guide their teams effectively during challenging times. Then, register for the MWBC webinar, Emotional Intelligence in a Virtual Workplace, which Shanieree will lead on February 23rd.
What led you to get involved with the Maryland Women’s Business Center?
As a woman in business locally, it was important to my business’ growth to ensure that I have resources, support, and training that is specific to my business. The Maryland Women’s Business Center allows for women to discuss business opportunities, align with like-minded women in business, and provide resources for growth.
Why are you passionate about leadership coaching?
I’ve been involved in leadership coaching just about all of my life and career in some capacity. My passion for leadership coaching derives from my direct benefits. During my personal and professional career, I’ve had the best mentors, coaches, and educational programs that aligned with my authentic self. These opportunities helped me propel my skills and business. I didn’t have to change who I am to do so.
Leadership coaching is a way for a business owner (no matter how long they’ve been in business) to think strategically about their business model, staff, and required skills to stay in business. Coaching allows for business owners to come out of their blind spots and reimagine management, and allows for leaders to effectively communicate career goals to direct reports.
What new challenges do leaders face when managing a remote team?
The toughest challenge leaders face managing a remote team is the inability to connect face to face, review body language, and delegate tasks fairly. As a leader it is imperative to be hyper-focused on communication, following up with your team regularly, and managing your own self-awareness. It is easy to creep into continuing to manage the same as you would when you are in the office, however, there is a lot more going on in our individual remote worlds now.
Your team is managing to balance work/life, school-aged children and/or caring for loved ones (for some), and processing the social injustice occurring in the world. So it is important to ensure that first and foremost, you first manage your own emotional intelligence. Leaders can not lead effectively if they themselves are overwhelmed. Secondly, schedule frequent team meetings to communicate your expectations and discuss any challenges with your team during that meeting. Adjust accordingly if necessary. Finally, delegate based on development opportunities and not what you as the manager “assumes” the team can do. In other words, do NOT delegate because you “think” the person is overwhelmed. Leaders during this time have an opportunity to really actively listen to the needs of their team!
What habits or traits do you see successful leaders embodying?
Successful leaders embody authenticity, effective communication skills, and are in tune with their own emotional intelligence. These three traits are key to a leader’s ability to pivot in a time of change. Authenticity is important because being able to lead as you are, where you are in your leadership journey is instrumental to your team following you. Effective communication is important because ensuring that your team has the information they need to pivot is key for moving projects along. Being in tune with your own emotional intelligence is the foundation of being able to lead effectively; putting on your own oxygen mask first is the first step to being able to help others.
How have those been influenced by the shift to a work-from-home environment?
These traits have been shifted because the typical operating/managing and working from home experience is very different from working from home due to a pandemic. Leaders must shift the priority of these traits without eliminating any of them, seeking first to manage their own mental health before being a resource for anyone else.
What advice would you give to leaders today, especially during the COVID-19/Work-From-Home era?
Ensure that you take care of yourself first. It is imperative especially now that leaders find a way to manage their mental health before committing to trying to manage. Also, it’s okay to let your team know where you are on the journey of managing your own emotional intelligence. This will build character, trust, and respect.
What’s one concept that every remote leader could easily implement today?
Leaders managing a remote team could implement “the check-in” during their one-on-one meetings with their staff. Adding just a couple of moments at the beginning of a meeting to “check-in” allows for the leader to understand what the direct report is managing outside of work commitments and allows for dialogue for any adjustments. Adding this to every one-on-one meeting removes any bias or assumptions you may have as a leader. If this is done for the entire team, this also allows you to delegate effectively.
How does the Maryland Women Business Center support leaders during the COVID-19/Work-From-Home era?
MWBC supports leaders by continuing to provide resources, support, and training for women in business – which I think is an amazing task considering how challenging the pivot was for so many. I believe that one way the MWBC can continue to support leaders is by adding training opportunities for leaders to decompress through morning meditation sessions/calls, discuss challenges with other leaders while providing resources to mitigate those challenges in the workplace and through training & development.
Explore Emotional Intelligence Further on February 23rd
If you would like to better understand the importance of your emotional intelligence and the impact on your business, career, and leadership, join Shanieree Dames as she facilitates MWBC’s webinar: Emotional Intelligence in a Virtual Workplace on February 23rd at 10:00 a.m. For other networking and training support, view all of MWBC’s offerings at https://marylandwbc.org/events/.
About The Dames Group LLC
The Dames Group LLC is a professional training and coaching company specializing in leadership and development transition, meeting design, team building, and executive coaching. Led by Shanieree Dames, they partner with clients to ensure meaningful business outcomes.