Why won’t you turn your Video on?
Are you an exasperated manager like so many others who are trying to get the team to bond, connect and engage? And a video call is your best bet while being remote? You find yourself giving out encouraging messages of it being safe and fun to be able to see each other, and yet half way into the meeting, it seems almost like having to command others to switch their videos on? It is important to know of the different reasons why this could happen and how to address it.
- Not ready yet! Working from home has made lives busier and cramped. While working and having a place to go to, even if virtual, has ben a boon to many for both financial and emotional reasons, people sometimes feel extremely vulnerable when a personal side of their life is suddenly out there for others to view. At one level, it is like someone you haven’t invited, has come into your home. And by keeping the video off, you are able to protect that space.
- Social anxiety: This is one of the most common impacts of being home bound over the last year where people have experienced their comfort levels in social situations dropping, feeling on their guard at all times and not finding the skills needed to communicate effectively when in a group of people. Feeling like ‘all eyes on you’ and having to perform in such a situation can be nerve wrecking. Ensuring a zero tolerance to bullying and transparent feedback system can help encourage all to participate.
- Not invested enough! Sad, but true! Sometimes people are multitasking and they are not prepared or even geared up for the connect. Especially in a bigger meeting room, keeping the video off, frees up time to work on other things – personal or professional. It would be worthwhile as a manager to note patterns in this and have safe confidential discussions with team members to help improve this area of team work.
- The back bencher mindset: The back bencher mindset refers to the idea that ‘if you can’t see me, you can’t assign work to me.” You would usually find your A & B level performers sitting near the speaker in conference rooms and similarly they have their videos on in virtual meetings. It is the same psychology for others who wish to stay ‘out’ of the task or the discussion and hence it would be important to let everyone know they are important, have an open plan environment that invites contributions from all as well as create sharing on rotation basis to include everyone in.
- Poor virtual executive presence: Sometimes it is all about not knowing any better! While we may have had exposure to learn by observation when it comes to executive presence, there have been little conversations on virtual executive presence. Understanding that only 7% communication is carried by words while the rest 93% is carried by our tone and body language can be essential to share the importance of turning the video on! Conducting trainings on how one can be visible, more engaged and be positively perceived by the managers and the team members through a crisp online presence can be helpful here – not just for the staff’s own professional development but for overall team performance and client facing as well.
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Director of Leadership & Learning, Senior Consultant
PhD (Clinical Psychology), MA(Psychology)