If you have been following us during the past month, you have probably noticed we launched some research on whether people are satisfied by their managers’ behaviour.
The overview of results has been already reported by Helen Goulding, our UK manager, in the article we have just published in our blog.
We have conducted a further statistical analysis on the same data, calculating the Pearson correlation coefficient for each variable of our survey.
Our survey explored 4 major variables:
V1: Quality of the relationship, feeling of inclusion.
V2: Clarity of the remote working methodology.
V3: Setting expectations on roles and tasks.
V4: Listening and giving feedback.
As you probably already know, 2 variables can be defined as ‘correlated’ when both go up or down, and therefore are linked by a cause-effect relationship. In statistics, the correlation has a value between +1 and −1, where 1 is total positive linear correlation, 0 is no linear correlation, and −1 is total negative linear correlation.
We thought it would be interesting to explore how the first variable (quality of the relationship, feeling of inclusion) correlates with the others. We can consider the first variable as a measure of an overall satisfaction with remote working, which, as Helen Goulding pointed out, is quite high (“50% of respondents gave the maximum score of 5 points, meaning the relationship with their manager is very strong, informative and inclusive”).
- V1 has the highest correlation with V4 (listening and giving feedback), with a value of 0.73.
This means that the more a manager creates dedicated moments to listen to people’s needs and give feedback, the greater the satisfaction with remote working.
- V1 has a strong correlation with V2 (clarifying methodology), with a value of 0.67.
This means that clarifying the way a manager intends to work in remote mode and setting shared rules of behaviour can significantly increase the sense of connection and wellbeing.
- V1 has a positive even if less strong correlation with V3 (defining roles and task).
This means that defining working expectations and responsibilities can help remote leadership, although this cannot be considered a key factor. The explanation can be found in the text comments left by the responders. Many of them specified that roles and tasks were already clear before starting to work remotely. In our opinion this can be considered a sort of ‘health’ factor. Clarity on organisational expectations is something fundamental. Managers who invest time in setting objectives and defining responsibility in normal working situations seem to have the greatest advantage when things get tough.
It’s also interesting to take a look at the correlation between V2 (clarifying methodology) and V4 (listening and giving feedback). Since both are correlated with V1 (quality of the relationship) we can expect a correlation between them as well. Surprisingly, the correlation is not so high, albeit positive, with a value of 0.57. This means that a manager doesn’t have to excel in both actions to ensure satisfaction with remote working, as long as both are sufficiently covered. There are probably two different categories of outstanding managers: the methodologists and the communicators. It’s not so difficult to understand why they are considered outstanding; both are taking care of the way people are working, even if they are using a different style. However, we need to remember that neither style will work well in remote mode if the manager doesn’t define clearly their expectations.
In summary, if you want to be considered an outstanding leader by your staff when they work from home, you should follow these rules:
- Check how clear you have been with your expectations regarding working standards, responsibilities, tasks and objectives. If you discover you haven’t been clear, immediately fill the gap of understanding. You are a bit late but you can still recover. If you don’t do it, any positive action you take when working remotely will be less effective.
- Define a remote working methodology. Set routines and rules of interaction.
- Schedule one-to-one virtual meetings with every member of staff. Listen to them, understand their needs and empathise with them. Provide feedback.
If you are a methodologist, increasing communication will give you a boost. Similarly, if you are a communicator, paying greater attention to giving method to your action can really enhance your leadership. Once you have developed a remarkable method and extraordinary communication skills, you are probably ready for a step change in your career.