On Thursday, April 9, 2020, the Young Professionals Council kicked off its virtual professional and personal development series with a session focused on effective remote leadership.

As we continue to adjust to a new remote work reality in the wake of COVID-19, it’s important that young professionals continue to build leadership and professional skills while also taking time to support their personal well-being and the health of our communities.

Ben Bowman, Chief Strategy Officer at Velocity Advisory Group, member of the Young Professionals Council’s Advisory Board and Co-Chair of its Events Committee, facilitated a discussion on the distinction between “leadership” and “management,” why each is important, and tools to master both when working with a remote team.

1. Know the difference between “leadership” and “management.”

Leaders are people-oriented. They prioritize influence; they seek to build and strengthen relationships and connections, motivate their teams, and consistently maintain open lines of communication.

Managers are task-oriented. They are focused on the quality of work. Some of their main focus areas are overseeing quality control, planning, and following policies and procedures.

Although both styles are equally valuable, Bowman notes that understanding the difference and finding a balance is critical. The teams of those that tend to focus on “leading” can suffer from diminished accountability and structure. On the other hand, those that prioritize “managing” can contribute to lower creativity, morale, and a sense of community.

Depending on your role, Bowman notes that you may need to “manage” more than you “lead,” or vice versa, to do your job effectively. Still, he encouraged attendees to be intentional when communicating with their teams in order to achieve their desired balance. In the new reality of remote work where our time to communicate with our teams and colleagues is limited, Bowman closed with, “If we don’t manage our time, it’s going to manage us,” so it’s important to be intentional regardless of your primary style.

2. Understand your team’s behavioral tendencies to improve the way you “lead.”

Bowman uses the BIRDS assessment, a type of DISC assessment, to learn the primary behavioral styles of his team members. A primary style is the behavior a person defers to when they are under stress; circumstances like those caused by COVID-19 can create significant stress.

An assessment like DISC helps leaders know more about themselves, their teams, and how they can best connect with each individual. The behavioral styles are divided into four categories ⁠— in BIRDS these are each associated with a specific type of bird ⁠— and nearly everyone is a combination of the four, rather than a representation of just one:

  • Dominant (Eagle)
    • Results-oriented, direct, and decisive
  • Interactive (Parrot)
    • Fun, social, optimistic, and motivational
  • Supportive (Dove)
    • Patient, empathetic, and loyal
  • Conscientious (Owl)
    • Accurate, detail-oriented, and analytical

Understanding default behavioral tendencies can help those in leadership roles adapt their communication style to meet a team member where they are ⁠— this builds trust and sustains connections during challenging times.

3. Use a highly structured approach to more efficiently “manage.”

Incorporating structure is vital to completing tasks in a remote environment as clear communication oftentimes gets lost when colleagues are not able to meet face-to-face or have casual conversations passing by one another in the office.

Bowman suggests implementing a tool like the DONE Model to ensure clarity and maintain accountability within teams.

The DONE Model will help you and your team:

  • Define the goal.
    • Are the objectives and instructions clearly stated?
  • Organize responsibility.
    • Who will be the lead on the task?
  • Determine when the project needs to completed…
    • What is the deadline?
  • Evaluate the outcome.
    • What is the reward or consequence?

Bowman’s team at Velocity Advisory Group tends to use this outline whenever a task or project comes up in order to ensure that the expectations and standards are clearly set and more likely to be met.

To learn more about management versus leadership, the BIRDS assessment, or the DONE Model, reach out to Bowman at [email protected] or connect with him on LinkedIn.


Coming Up

COVID-19: Virtual Development for Young Professionals
with Ha Nguyen, Owner, Yummy Body Nutrition

Join us for this session on nutrition and physical well-being and get tips on how to stock your pantry, manage eating and snacking habits at home, and more.

Thursday, May 21, 2020 | 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. | Free and exclusive to YPC members



COVID-19: Virtual Development for Young Professionals
with the Philadelphia Foundation

Learn how you can continue supporting your community through virtual volunteering by reaching out to local nonprofits and donating your skills.

Thursday, June 4, 2020 | 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. | Free and exclusive to YPC members