Leading remote teams takes a certain amount of skill and finesse. When you no longer see your people face-to-face, you must employ some innovative tactics to ensure you lead them effectively and efficiently. While communication is crucial when managing remote teams, leaders need to provide more than regular feedback and check-ins to keep their teams running smoothly.
Long-distance leadership is challenging. However, it can be done well when you keep a few essential tips in mind. Here are some ideas about how leaders can empower their team to do their best work during these times of transition.
Consider utilizing the “Three-O Model.”
Leaders must always focus on the Three-O’s: outcomes, others, and ourselves. Every element is important on its own. And each aspect also integrates with the others. For example, to be the best leader, you cannot be solely focused on reaching a certain goal if it is at the expense of your team or yourself. The Three-O model of leadership is even more important in remote work situations. This is because the outcomes must be even more apparent.
Clearly define the expected outcomes.
Even though your team may feel comfortable remotely by this point, they may not know what exactly is expected from them. When everyone is working together in the same office, it is easy to check in to see how someone is doing with a new tool, product, or process; or if they have questions about a new account or project. However, with team members working from home, you miss out on these impromptu pop-ins.
The solution is to clearly define your expectations of what the work is and how it will be completed. Your team members should know their deadlines and deliverables. They should also know how often they are expected to interact. The more clarity you can provide, the better.
Attempt to make every opportunity a collaborative opportunity.
When teams are dispersed, members can’t run into each other by chance in the hallway or catch up at the water cooler. That is why virtually creating these moments and creating opportunities for your team members to socialize is important. One way to do this: set up a virtual coffee break or happy hour. Invite everyone to turn on their webcam and start their day with a cup of coffee or tea with others on the team; or end their day with their beverage of choice. Making time to connect and laugh is important, particularly in remote environments.
Make the most of your meetings.
Since your team members may be missing the casual chatter from the office, make sure you include social time in your meetings. You can also make your meetings effective by setting a clear agenda and sending it to your team members ahead of time. When the meeting starts, make sure everyone gets to share their ideas and questions. It is not always easy for everyone to chime in on a remote call, so be proactive by calling on team members and ensuring they are heard.
Keep work and home separate.
Leaders should help their team members establish boundaries between work and home. Even though you may not be going into an office anytime soon, it helps to stick to a routine. Set an exact start time and end time. Be sure to communicate with your team when you are available and when you are offline and encourage them to do the same.
You may have experienced a few hiccups as you have adjusted to leading a remote team. Leading remote workers comes with some challenges that do not exist when everyone reports to the same office. Whether your team is starting to transition back to the office or you plan to work remotely, keep the above tips in mind to give your team the best guidance–and this will help you thrive.
For more remote work survival tips, be sure to check out our blog on how to brainstorm with remote teams.