Resources for Leaders
KEYS TO MANAGER SUCCESS IN A FLEXIBLE ENVIRONMENT
Managing a distributed workforce of staff, both onsite and remote, adds complexity to a manager's role. Be sure to:
- Set clear expectations, not just for work product, but also for how you will communicate with one another.
- Meet in-person, as well as virtually, on a regular basis.
- Foster a team environment: Make sure your remote employees feel like part of the team.
- Focus on goals, rather than how the goals are met. You will not have insight into your team's every working moment, so focus on their output.
- Make use of digital tools that will assist you in communicating with your teams. For example; Zoom, Microsoft Teams, DropBox Paper, etc.
In an environment where staff and colleagues are distributed across multiple locations, a people-centric and inclusive culture is what keeps staff connected and performing. Leaders will need to make the culture of their teams a priority as with any important business goal. They set the tone and expectations for cultural shifts. They should role model behaviors that reinforce an inclusive approach to leading and an authentic sense of caring about staff wellbeing.
AVOID COMMON PITFALLS
- Not trusting your people: For remote workers, it can feel not easy to trust well and get to know someone you might never have met. Remote managers do not have the luxury of physically checking in on their team members, so trust must be learned.
Consistently hold 1:1 meetings.
- Skipping your 1-1s: Finding the time to do 1-1s can seem impossible, but the pay-off can be huge if implemented well. It is also one of the best ways to get to know your team professionally, so we recommend scheduling them when you can.
- Focusing on working hours: One of the reasons why people choose to work remotely is in the flexibility it offers for the working day. But many managers still focus on the hours that someone works and not the output. It is a real throwback to normal office working conditions, and it is best not to carry the practice on into the remote world.
Add team meetings to your calendar.
- Thinking that meetings will solve your problems: What works in the office does not always work in the remote world. Meetings are a key example of something that just does not translate so well with a remote team. It is a difficult habit to kick, but it will ultimately save you time and get the message across quicker if you avoid remote meetings.
- Overlooking the personal & professional development of your remote team: In your role as a remote manager, you need to invest time and dedication into the development of your team. Your team members will appreciate it, become more engaged, and are much more likely to stay with you if you show some care.
- Failing to communicate: Communication really is one of the cornerstones of remote work. For a remote manager, it is even more important to practice the skill as your team members rely on you for guidance and task setting. It can be easier to get away with communicating badly when you are a normal employee, but it just cannot happen when leading a virtual team.
Set clear expectations and lead by example.
- Not setting the standard for your team: There's nothing worse than being a bad example to your remote team. It is a sure-fire way to make your team members disengaged and feel like they can do the same too. You must be a good example to have everyone be on their best game.
- Not setting clear expectations: Improving your overall transparency has a lot of benefits for a remote team, including the setting of clear expectations. We are not all together in the same office space, so everything should be laid out explicitly to avoid any confusion over your team's goals.