What’s the Secret to Effectively Leading Remote Teams?

While the core tenets of leadership and management might remain fairly consistent across the board, it’s important to understand that different situations, environments, and circumstances call for tailored responses.

Whats the Secret to Effectively Leading Remote TeamsWe’re in the middle of a massive digital shift. Whether by necessity or desire, thousands of businesses are transitioning from the physical realm to the digital realm – meaning teams that once met in person are now being managed remotely.

From a leadership perspective, this is a real challenge. While the overarching principles of leadership remain the same, how you manage and lead on a day-in and day-out basis looks entirely different. Do you have a plan?

5 Simple Tips You Can Put Into Action This Week

Successfully leading a remote team is unique, but not impossible. Here are some fairly simple tips that you can put into action right away:

  1. Set Expectations

It’s imperative that your team has a concrete understanding of what’s expected of them, both individually and collectively. By setting expectations, you empower your team to act with conviction and purpose. Less time is wasted wondering if something should be done or how it should be completed and more time can be dedicated to actually doing it.

  1. Start Each Day With a Huddle

Meetings are productivity killers. So let’s preface this tip by saying you need to be more intentional about when and why you call meetings. If possible, you should save them for the beginning of the day and end of the day, which allows your team to work uninterrupted.

The most important meeting – and one that every remote team should have – is the morning huddle. This huddle takes place first thing and should last no more than 20 minutes. The goal of the huddle is for each person to address their needs and concerns for the day so that everyone is on the same page. Don’t spend too much time focusing on any one item. Make a note and have the appropriate parties connect after the meeting.

  1. Supply the Right Tools

Set your remote team up to be productive, efficient, and successful by supplying them with the right tools. A project management software solution is a good starting point. It provides a cohesive digital environment where your team can communicate, share files, collaborate, and stay organized.

  1. Don’t Micromanage

If your team has always been in a physical office setting, suddenly pivoting to virtual management can be tough. You wonder if your team is doing what they’re supposed to be doing. You worry that they won’t meet all of their tasks and objectives in time. The lack of access and visibility scares you. And while all of these things may be true, you must resist the temptation to micromanage your team.

It’s okay to check in on your remote employees, but try to be systematic and consistent.

As entrepreneur Chelsea Mize writes, “Checking in at random times with little warning can disrupt the workflow of your employees. Impromptu virtual drop-ins can also put employees on edge and create the impression that you don’t trust them to get their work done on their own.”

Be consistent with when you check in and always make yourself available should they need you. Over time, you’ll build trust with your team. You’ll identify the ones who are responsible, as well as those who can’t handle the freedom.

  1. Prioritize Outcomes Over Activities

Trying to manage every single activity each employee is involved in is exhausting and impractical. You’ll wear yourself out trying to keep up with everything. But the good news is that you don’t have to monitor activities. Instead, you should be focused on outcomes.

By prioritizing outcomes over activities, you free yourself up to focus on what matters most. You’re essentially saying it doesn’t matter how or when it gets done (to an extent), so long as the outcome is favorable. (It can take some time to reach a point where you have the faith in your remote team to adopt this posture. Be patient and don’t rush the process.)

Don’t Be Afraid to Mess Up

Don’t let this recent shift to virtual leadership and remote team management paralyze you. While it’s certainly different than what you’re used to, it’s something that you must embrace headfirst. Are you willing to give it your best shot?

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