Anchal Gupta, DTCC’s Managing Director of Enterprise Product and Platform Engineering, recently spoke at a Snowflake Women in Data event, sharing her career insights and guidance with other women leaders in technology. As many companies are shifting to a hybrid in-office/remote work environment, there is also a shift for leaders finding ways to effectively manage this new terrain. Read on for Anchal’s tips for thriving as a leader in a hybrid work environment.
Related: Beating the Odds as a Woman in Technology
- Showcase Your Personality
I joined DTCC in March 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many companies at the time, most of DTCC’s global staff were working remotely. Without the opportunity for in-person interactions, I had to pivot and figure out a different way to share my personality with my colleagues and get to know each other.
Since networking in an office or conference room wasn’t an option for me, I opted to have introductory calls and periodic check-ins through video conferencing instead of email or instant messaging to amplify my personal connection as much as possible. I would say my client-focused, empathetic nature came through these meetings as I actively listened to, and provided solutions for, my business partners' challenges.
As time went on, I could tell my peers trusted my work and decisions because of the foundation we built on these video calls. Dependability is most important to me, and I believe I was able to show that even with the webcams.
- Keep Employees Motivated
Another shift due to working remotely was the way companies maintained –and built – their work culture. There were no more happy hour meetups or impromptu office events; this new, virtual environment prompted management to lead through challenges by recognizing employees’ various advancements and setbacks.
In IT we had many staff members who were unable to work remotely due to the on-site requirement of their roles, such as supporting our physical infrastructure and ensuring our data centers were operational. My challenge was to find ways to motivate these team members while I wasn’t able to be with them in-person.
I aimed to have regular contact with them, developing a personal connection with each employee on my team. Most often, we built connections by learning about our loved ones, as family and friends can certainly motivate us through difficult times.
At every chance, I made sure my team members knew their worth to the company, that they were appreciated and listened to. These are critical factors in cultivating an environment that inspires and keeps employees engaged.
- Balance Rational & Emotional Discussions
Over these two years, we have had to make many critical strategic decisions, especially amid the changing technology landscape and extreme market volatility. I was accustomed to having these types of discussions face-to-face, so I had to adapt my approach for a virtual environment.
In my opinion, regardless of whether you’re meeting in person or over video conferencing, it’s always best to put all the facts on the table. Balancing an emotional quotient is critical for leaders – it means you have the capability to understand and manage your own emotions in a productive way, enabling you to effectively communicate, empathize, and de-escalate conflict.
With all the facts on the table, and a balanced approach, it’s important to remember that ultimately, people are just trying to get the best decision. Once you understand this, it becomes easier to negotiate emotional discussions — let your data do the work to explain the facts.