How good are you at leading a remote team? That’s a dilemma countless managers are facing these days –maybe knowing this will become a permanent practice. Managing employees remotely is much harder than handling people who come to the office daily. Therefore resulting in failed work-from-home experiments, leading to believe this isn’t a good working scenario.
Nowadays leaders are facing many challenges and going through major transformations to succeed in a new digital economy.
These are the 5 skills necessary to be an effective remote leader:
Being a good communicator is vitally important when email, text, phone, or video chat is the only way of communicating with your team members. There is a much greater chance that either you or your team member will confuse each other or miss out on crucial details. Start by making sure that you regularly schedule check-in and speak by phone or video. And when in any doubt, work with your fellow managers or a mentor to ensure that your communication skills are as strong as they can be.
Working from home can be tough on some people, particularly those who have to care for their kids at the same time. They probably need extra help on subjects such as working hours flexibility and even deadlines. And for those people living by themselves, they might need additional emotional help, considering the loneliness and stresses that many faces when being alone at home all day. Make sure staff know you are there for them and the company for any support they can need.
There’s a lot more to keep track of (by yourself or with the help of others) when you manage a remote team. There are daily and weekly check-ins with team members, metrics you use to evaluate each employee’s performance, and an ongoing record of who’s been assigned which tasks, so that no team member has too much or too little to do. This is also true for consistency, if you don’t show up to a couple of meeting, you might be sending the wrong message to your colleagues.
Barking dogs, cats on laps, and napping babies are not the norm at a business meeting, but their presence is now usual in this “new reality”. People are going through a lot at the moment, so the least they need is extra pressure on dressing professional or having a clean background during video calls. So be tolerant with your team when working at home. It’s an opportunity to bond with the people in your work with at a deeper level than you ever were able to.
If you don’t allow workers to speak to you and then actually listen to what they’re saying, you’re likely to miss vital details and signals. Effective businessmen managing remote teams and best-selling author Simon Sinek give the same advice: “from time to time, call your employees on the phone (no email!) and simply ask them how things are going. Then really listen to their answers. If they’re struggling, don’t immediately suggest a solution–begin by hearing them out. And when you do respond, consider what’s best for them as well as what’s best for your company.”