As a leader, you make choices each day – many consciously, and many others subconsciously. When you have a remote team, some of your subconscious leadership choices need to be reexamined, because they are having unintended consequences. Here are five leadership choices you can make as a remote leader to get better results for you and your team.
When people are remote, they have more time to think, more time to wonder, and more time to worry about what is or isn’t happening “back at the office.” While you are waiting to share all the information, they are trying to make sense of the clues they have and make up their own story. When you share all you can as soon as you can, you not only allay people’s concerns and quell the rumor mill, you build trust with people too.
Choose something other than email.
Let’s face it, it is easy to fire up the email and communicate away. Yet, you know that isn’t always the most effective communication tool. When your team is remote, it is even more convenient to send an email. But each time you do, you are missing an opportunity to make the next choice…
Choose to work on relationships.
People want to follow people that they know, like, and trust. Time spent building your relationship with your remote team members will help them stay engaged and committed and make everything go better for both of you. As you build the relationship, you build all three factors – know, like, and trust.
Choose more one-on-one time.
This may seem like a repeat of the last choice, but not exactly. More one-on-one time helps relationships grow, but it does more than that. One-on-one meetings (preferably on the webcam whenever possible) provide the chance for coaching, support, and to understand their perspective. Just walking through the workplace gives you a pulse of your team’s mood and needs. But you can’t walk through the workplace of your team member in London, California or London, England if you are in London, Ohio. Make sure too that team members know when and how they can reach out to you. Remember, they can’t walk by either and see whether you are sitting at your desk.
Choose to be proactive.
In many ways, the watchword for leading remotely is proactive. Choose to reach out, check in, or say good morning. Ask more questions and value all the time you have with these team members, because they likely value it too.
You may be thinking that each of these choices will help any leader – and you would be right. But when some or all your team is remote from you, each of these choices will pay even greater dividends. You will be more successful, and your team will be more committed, loyal, and productive.
Is your team becoming more scattered? Are you wondering how to successfully lead a remote team? We’ve been helping leaders do this for many years through our Remote Leadership Institute. Build your skills and confidence by participating in the Remote Leadership Certificate Series – a series of virtual learning sessions designed with your specific needs in mind. Learn more here.