Last Friday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel Event on the topic, Leading a New Team Through a Pandemic. Thank you to our panelists, Angie Schulke, Senior Director, Application Development, Data, and Business Intelligence at Life Time, Inc., And Mindy Woitaszewski, Manager, Project Management Practice at Prime Therapeutics, for sharing their experience on how they are leading new teams. A huge thank you to everyone who joined us as well! 

Below you will find an overview of the most popular questions from our members and a summary of what was discussed. 

How do you form relationships with your new team virtually? 

Mindy and Angie make sure they have different channels for their team members to share things that are not work-related. They are discovering that the best way for them to connect with their teams is to talk about things other than what projects they are working on at work.  

How do you support your teams with all the added personal changes during this time (gyms are closed, daycare/school closures, etc.)? 

Really listening and helping figure out what empowers your team is important while supporting them during this time. Don’t pretend you know what your team members are going through because this experience is so different for everyone. It helps to be flexible with your team and make sure they all feel connected.  

How have you changed performance expectations, if at all? 

Performance expectations have increased, but there has become more of a personal dynamic. When each company has taken a hit, team members have stepped up to jump in and see how they can help. Mindy and Angie want to celebrate the performance wins of their teams. Trust that your team will get the work done even if it’s at a different time other than the normal work hours.  

How are you supporting your new team in terms of performance reviews, career goals, and professional development in a virtual environment? 

It’s important even during these times to check in with your team and see what their personal and professional goals are. When doing performance reviews, go over their strengths, aspirations, and what motivates them, not just what can be better for the next year. Keep these conversations going and be dedicated to your team’s professional development.  

The leaders agreed that it’s important to be in a good headspace before you can help lead your team to be in that same space. Show your struggles as a leader too, and don’t pretend that you aren’t human. Your team will be able to relate to you more if you are your authentic self.