I just got a new minion. He’s OK with me calling him that, I think. He’s currently referring to me as ‘baws’. I think we’ll get along just fine.
One of our main challenges is that he’s based all the way in our Belgrade office, whereas I’m in London. As is my only other report. I’ve met both of them, once or twice. But how to build a relationship with someone who’s so far away? It’s been a concern.
Until I realised that 90% of my communication is online these days. I’m part of online communities about health and fitness, about beauty and fashion. I WhatsApp my boyfriend and friends way more than I speak to them IRL (sorry). I email my mum (because she doesn’t have WhatsApp).
When the guy who used to sit next to me at work left to travel and I was professing my devastation to workmates, one of them said “But you don’t even talk to each other!” – we did nearly all our talking on instant messenger, so you’d never have known we even liked each other.
Aside from all this online chat being really annoying to people around me as I snigger and snort at stuff one of my buddies has posted, this means I’m much less reliant on physical proximity to manage people effectively than I would have been not all that long ago.
Obviously, it’s really important that I get out to Belgrade soon to visit the team and build on our relationships (and drink rakija), feel what it’s like for them in their day to day lives, and experience some of their difficulties for myself.
But I’m finding, as many others have already, that spending time online has prepared me for remote management – and actually it might be a good thing that they don’t have to hear the jumbled words that fall from my mouth as I speak with little-to-no thought. They get the slightly edited version. She makes a bit more sense.