Remote working is one of the new realities of our world thanks to the pandemic that has plagued the world since 2020. One of the challenges that has come with this is in the area of leadership. How can business leaders lead their teams when they are not in the same location with them? How can they ensure structure and order at work if they are not present physically? Can leadership be effective when it’s done remotely?
As a progressive business leader, these are questions that should cross your mind. Even if you are not running a remote team at the moment, you might find yourself doing so in a short while. This is why you should be prepared and armed with the necessary information and knowledge about how to lead a remote team successfully.
The good thing about leading a remote team is this: it is not as hard as you may think it is. There are certain tips you can put to use to have impactful and enhanced leadership while working remotely. These tips can also be used when you are leading a team assembled in a location different from yours. Here are some of them:
1. Always Communicate: one of the core elements of effective leadership is constant communication. When you are leading remotely, communication becomes even more important. If you and your team are just transitioning to remote work, talking them through it is the best approach to employ. Have an initial moment of interaction where you let them know that things have changed and for both parties to have enhanced productivity and still feel like a team even though in separate locations, then you have to maintain steady communication.
Bringing them up to speed on the new order of things puts them in a place of understanding. Hence, when they notice that you have scheduled more meetings than usual, they are aware that this is a way of keeping the team together.
However, communication is not limited to team meetings. As a leader, you need to ensure you are keeping in touch and communicating with every team member individually. Be rest assured that the team members are communicating with one another. You do not want to be the one who doesn’t know what is going on until it is shared during meetings. Check in with your team members often and let them share their challenges with you. Help them out in private before you have to do it in public.
Remote work thrives on the pillars of harmony and togetherness. You can foster this by communicating with your team effectively.
2. Manage Your Expectations: while it is not impossible to achieve high performance and productivity while leading remotely, the chances of that happening are low. Hence, you have to manage your expectations and let your team know that, while you expect them to put their best into work and show up, you understand if they need a couple of days to adjust to the new status quo.
While this may seem like an encouragement to relax and be lazy, it is not. It puts your team members in the right frame of mind to take the time they need to adjust to remote work instead of just doing things haphazardly because they have not adjusted to the new working system.
Also, managing your expectations shows a display of emotional intelligence from you. It shows that, as much as you are concerned about productivity at work, you are also interested in the well-being of the people who work for you and you need them in the best state of mind.
3. Give feedback and get feedback: although no one likes negative comments on the work they’ve done, the best way for your employees to know how they are faring while working remotely is through the feedback you give. While corrections are best given physically to avoid any misinformation and to also read body language, doing it online is also great.
There are three things to do when you want to give feedback. First, give positive comments. Let the employee know the good they are doing and that you see and appreciate that. You can mention how their work has directly affected the company’s output positively.
Then you let them know their shortcomings. Inform them of where you believe they can do better and how you think they can do so. Lastly, ask them for feedback. Ask them to tell you how remote work has been for them. Ask if it has affected their productivity in any way and if there are ways you can help them to do better.
Showing your employees that you are interested in them getting better through feedback is a great way to boost effectiveness at work.
Leading a virtual team is not an easy task but if you pay extra attention to these three points, you and your team are going to have a good time working remotely.