How To Lead With Confidence When Working Remotely
RADA Business, the commercial arm of the world-renowned drama school, is helping business leaders to perform brilliantly at work. RADA Business tutor and Client Manager, Katie Lightfoot, provides insight into how senior leaders can lead remotely, with confidence.
With the return of full-time home working for many, along with many businesses still grappling with the new hybrid-working pattern that has now become an industry norm, it can be difficult to adapt your leadership style when working remotely. The ability to remain calm under pressure and lead with confidence is a skill that many of us can struggle with at the best of times, so added complications arising from working from home, alongside heavy workloads, can challenge even the most senior people.
Developing confidence in your leadership style helps you to gain and maintain the respect of your peers, as well as the ability to feel comfortable when the spotlight is on you; advising and leading others.
There are plenty of techniques, built upon from the world of acting, which business leaders can utilise to feel more confident in a range of situations. But what are these techniques and how can you begin to apply them?
Our confidence is likely to faulter in the build up to, or just before an important meeting, especially if you’re leading or chairing. Taking a moment to prepare yourself physically, as well as mentally, will enable you to feel ready and assured when the big moment arrives. Release physical tension from your body by jogging on the spot to lift your energy state, or have a good stretch by lifting your arms to the ceiling. Then shake out your limbs. Releasing physical tension from your body will reduce rigidity, helping you to present more confidently and flexibly.
Communicating with clarity is a vital part of every leader’s role. When presenting, give value to your words by taking the time to speak each one before moving onto the next, and when you get to the end of a sentence, stop. This is your opportunity to breathe, process your next thought and most importantly, allow your audience the time to digest what you’ve just said, and with more vocal energy, so that your voice and message is clear. Often, if we feel nervous, we can begin to speak quickly, which means our message is lost and others may sense that you want to get it over and done with. By taking a moment to slow down, you will have longer to think about what you are saying and deliver your message more clearly. When leading virtually, energise your ideas with your breath. Technology can drain energy from your message, so you need to find new energy from ‘your centre’.
A large part of feeling confident is managing your nerves. A really simple way to do this is to breathe. Start by breathing out. Hold it for a brief moment and then allow the air to simply ‘drop in’ by releasing the belly. Repeat. Providing oxygen rich air to your mind and body throughout important meetings will help you to thrive under pressure, especially when team members may be looking to you for guidance and reassurance.
Even in a virtual world, owning your space is a massive part of confidence. Maintaining your posture on screen will give you presence. Imagine a thread pulling you up from the top of your head, and another thread running across your chest and out through your shoulders, allowing your body to lengthen and widen. Taking responsibility for your own spine will show people that you’re fully present; ready to listen and to actively engage in the conversation.