Leadership lessons from Nebula CEO, Daniel Nel: Making working from home, work

Johannesburg, 31 Jul 2020
Read time 2min 30sec
Daniel Nel
Daniel Nel

We recently asked our team at Nebula about their remote working experiences. Keen to find out how they’re coping with this new reality, the aim of these conversations was to find out where things were going right and where they may be going wrong.

Some mentioned “technical difficulties” and this really struck a chord with me. As leaders, it can be hard to lead, inspire and help your team when you are not in the same office. With employees working remotely, some leaders choose to leave their teams to make things work on their own. But just because your employees are now working from home doesn’t mean that you should stop taking responsibility for the tools and resources they need to do their jobs and enable their productivity

The saying ‘a bad workman blames his tools' implies that the person has done a poor job but is not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes and instead lays all the blame on their equipment. This may be true in some situations, but I don’t believe it rings true when you’re talking about people working from home. Today, in a world characterised by remote work, if your teams are working with 'bad tools', it’s inevitable that they’ll struggle to achieve results.

Leaders shouldn’t underestimate how frustrating it must be for their employees to work with technology that doesn’t meet their needs or to spend their days trying to be productive when their connectivity is unreliable. And let’s not forget how working with unreliable technology can affect output, which ultimately affects the businesses bottom line.

Managing the world of distributed work

I don’t ever want my staff to say that they can’t get things done because they don’t have the technology they need. This includes having a proper home office where they can focus and prioritise work without distractions. This kind of thing also aids work-life balance because people can create real boundaries between their work and their relationships with their family and their responsibilities at home.

During a recent town hall meeting with my team, one of my employees shared this insight: if you want a bird, plant a tree. You could just buy a bird, but if you plant a tree, you’re creating the right setting and the right environment for birds to thrive. And chances are that you’ll attract many birds. For me, accepting responsibility for my team’s success – whether they are working from home or they’re in the office – is like planting a tree. It’s about providing the resources, support and the ecosystem they need to do well.

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