At Cisco, one of our principles that I really connect with is the idea of giving my very best every day. As a people leader, I take this principle to heart because at Cisco we believe that better leaders make better teams.
I will admit, giving my very best as a virtual people leader over the past year has been harder than I ever expected. I find myself starting each day with the best of intentions, planning my work flawlessly, only to be conquered by a constant stream of meetings and being distracted by piling up dishes and drink cups like I am creating an amazing piece of office artwork on the corner of my desk.
As full-time virtual people leaders, we’ve had to let go of relying on physical interactions to connect with our teams. I’ve had to search out new ways to ensure my team knows I see them; I recognize their impact and I am an active participant in their work.
With Cisco Webex, we strive to make the collaboration experience 10x better than in-person interactions. Webex has given me unique capabilities to be a better virtual people leader. Here are a few ideas that I’ve learned that you can use to be a 10x better virtual people leader for your team.
If you are like me, you are a note taker during every meeting. With advances in Webex AI and natural language processing, the Webex Assistant can give you the opportunity to stay engaged with your employees while Webex takes notes, captures highlights and action items. After your discussion, you can go back and share the action items Webex Assistant captured as well as search your transcriptions if you want to reflect on a particular part of the conversation. Webex innovations are truly giving virtual people leaders the best opportunity to stay connected during every employee interaction. If you want to see Webex Assistant in action, check out Adam Schaefer’s demonstration.
One of the most important aspects of being a successful people leader is being a great coach. I’ve always used a simple 3-step process when it comes to coaching:
Active Listening – Webex AI removes distractions from your virtual interactions and Webex Assistant captures all of your notes and action items, but you still need to establish a real human connection with your employees. In a virtual world, video is good, but immersive, high-fidelity 4k video is best. By using the Webex Desk Pro with embedded Webex AI, you have the opportunity to give your full attention with the best ergonomics that keep your focused and energized. By leveraging the full power of Webex software and hardware, “in-person” non-verbal communications we all crave these days begin to show up in every employee interaction.
Suspend Judgment – As a great coach, you have to show up to every conversation with an open mind. AI powered by Webex is amazing, but this one is completely on you as a people leader. Sorry 🙂
Clarify and Engage – One of my favorite tools of the Webex platform is the whiteboarding capability, specifically on the Webex Desk Pro. I use it to clarify ideas and brainstorm with employees to help them think through their current challenges. The best part is that your beautifully drawn whiteboards are evergreen afterwards and can easily be re-used in the next conversation. Two-way, real-time whiteboarding is the single biggest tool a people leader can use to engage virtually with their employees and ensure they feel valued and heard.
Confidentiality is important when it comes to sync-ups with your employees. Security for Webex, built in & not bolted on, allows you to auto-lock your meeting after a specified amount of time. This way, you can be sure your conversation is private and uninterrupted. As you wrap up your sync-up, participants that join your next meeting a bit early have the opportunity to wait in your Webex lobby (I set my auto-lock timer to 5 minutes for all meetings).
As virtual people leaders, we show up with the best of intentions to give our very best. We want to be the best leader we can be so that our teams can be the best they can be. By leveraging the full potential of Webex, we can give all of ourselves to our teams. They deserve it.
If you are a virtual people leader and a user of Webex today, thank you.
If you are not currently using Webex, give it a try