5 Mistakes Managers Make When Running a Remote Team

An engaged employee shares their employer’s culture, vision, and goals, helping the team grow, coming with innovative ways to fix problems, and delivering quality work consistently without burning out. But getting disengaged even as a high-performing worker is extremely easy when working remotely under a manager who doesn’t know how to properly run a remote team.

Here are the most critical mistakes people make when managing remote teams.

1. Having an Always-On Mindset

Many overachieving managers force remote workers to be available 24/7, if possible, with total disregard of each remote worker’s schedule, personal life, and personality. This mistake is very common, especially when the manager has to coordinate workers from various locations across multiple time zones.

A good manager will factor in time differences, find a schedule that benefits everyone on the team, and set deadlines to assignments rather than micromanage every aspect of a project down to its tiniest detail.

Remote employees have personal lives, too, and need downtime after work and predictability in the workplace to stay productive. Remote work doesn’t mean that, just like a custom chatbot that can be set up and accessed as and when you like it, workers will be available for you 24/7.

Most remote workers thrive on having a clear boundary between their work and personal lives. But with this boundary being constantly blurred by their managers, they quickly become frustrated, stressed out, and disengaged.

2. Micromanaging

Employee micromanagement is harder to get done with a remote team, but some managers can’t get rid of the habit. If you are micromanaging your remote team, you send the message that you don’t trust them or believe that they have the necessary skills to complete a task without you constantly breathing down their neck.

This attitude may push some workers into panic mode, forcing them to work overtime and doing other unnecessary things to prove their worthiness to you, which can have disastrous consequences in the long run, such as huge productivity dips, active disengagement, and worker burnout. So, try to focus on the outcomes rather than the activity.

3. Not Making Goals and Expectations Clear

This one is the most common mistake managers make when it comes to the remote workforce. Due to the nature of remote work and the limitations of the tools that keep remote teams connected, a manager cannot always get their message across to all team members.

Your workers need to know exactly the whats, hows, and whens of the work you want them to do. If you fail to give them this info, productivity and deadlines usually get the big hit. So, make sure that you are on the same page with every member of the team from the start.

4. Poor Communication

Communication is another huge roadblock when it comes to remote work. Most classic tools used by remote teams, such as VoIP services or email clients, make it hard to read into what people aren’t telling you, their body language. There’s also often a delay between your questions and the remote worker’s answers, which can also lead to misunderstandings and information gaps.

That is why the communication flow within remote teams is often lagging, sketchy, or non-existent, leading to increased levels of frustration and dissatisfaction among both the leadership and team members. Plus, subpar results come as a natural consequence.

To remediate these issues, place a higher emphasis on face-to face interaction. Always choose video calls over phone calls and don’t skip the daily check-ins, which helps a lot in keeping the worker engaged and on track with their goals.

5. Not Giving (Enough) Feedback

When managing a remote team, giving feedback, especially negative feedback, doesn’t come as naturally as it would with your in-office employees. But feedback is critical for your team’s development and growth.

If as a manager or remote worker, you cannot bring yourself to offer healthy feedback, it is a sign that something is not quite right within that organization. What is more, it is a manager’s role to give constant and constructive feedback.

If you cannot offer feedback in video calls, schedule an in-person meeting with each member of your team at least once a month where you can discuss the already given feedback, new challenges, and deficiencies more in-depth.


Interesting Related Article: “6 Ways to Reduce Friction on Remote Teams”