Leading others requires the same leadership principles and skills whether you are managing a traditional workforce or a remote team, however, managing remotely has its own challenges. Here are some tips to help you successfully manage your remote team through increased accountability, communication and advocacy.
Establish clear expectations. Help your employees transition their work by talking through and clarifying work schedules and expectations.
Use a project tracking tool. Outline clear deliverables with either weekly or monthly due dates. Use the tool to drive meeting updates, and team member engagement. Consider what works best for your work environment, whether it’s a formal tool or an excel spreadsheet.
Manage accountability. Agree to the tasks and timelines and use the project tracking tool to manage your staff’s accountability. Your remote team can run just as efficiently and effectively as a traditional team.
Maintain consistent meetings. Conduct formal meetings with your team daily or several times a week. Don’t neglect the individual meetings though. As a manager myself, I like at least 2x per week, but I prefer a daily touch base with individual team members.
Remember to check in with your team. Ask them how they are doing. Allow them to share challenges, successes and whatever is on their minds. It’s important that you connect with your employees, it assists with building rapport.
Communicate clearly and frequently. You may need to increase the frequency of your communication to employees since you don’t have the benefit of face to face meetings. Utilize Zoom, Skype, Adobe Connect, Meetme, any connection tool to meet and “see” your remote employees (again, it helps strengthen the connection and builds rapport).
Group your emails – this is one I personally had to learn. Don’t manage by email and barrage your employees with a flood of messages as the thoughts hit you. Be thoughtful and group tasks separately from sharing important information and try not to send everything by email. Utilize your touch base meetings to share information, and review tasks, then utilize email for follow ups.
Create context for your team. Explain what’s happening in the organization and how each role impacts the team. Help your employees understand the changing dynamics of the business. Creating context helps your employees “connect the dots” and increases engagement and connectedness. Socialize and build rapport.
Take advantage of engagement tools. Utilize Slack, Yammer, or other engagement tools to help employees engage and socialize with each other. Create interest threads like “pets”, “favorite recipes” or “sports channel” to allow employees to share and socialize around common interests.
Don’t forget to advocate for your team. Increase your remote team members’ opportunities for visibility. Allow remote team members to present updates to the team or to senior leadership.
Having a remote work force is becoming more common, especially in these challenging times. Ensure the success of your remote team by leaning on your leadership skills and accounting for the differences in managing a remote team.
If you need assistance reviewing your policies and guidelines around remote working, contact us today at: [email protected]