How to manage your team remotely — by The X-Percent
Founders of The X-Percent, Silvia Gargiulo and Jessica Lee, share their top tips for how to manage a team effectively whilst working remotely
People management is one of those things that you’re rarely “taught”; often we work it out as we go along. Some are natural people managers with good instincts and an open and clear communication style, whereas some find it more of a challenge — maybe they don’t feel comfortable or capable because no-one’s ever told them they’re doing it “right”.
The truth is, managing people isn’t easy. Most people are thrust into a world of managing with no guidance or advice. On the one hand they may have been super excited to ‘bag that promotion’, but on the other hand, they may be anxious or nervous to manage a team because they’ve never done it before. Even the most experienced managers can come up against new people management challenges that they need to work at.
So it’s a skill in itself to manage a team even when you’re in the same physical location as them, even with the visual cues (body language) and tone of voice to help you understand what relationships are going well and where there might be room for improvement. In person, you can tell more easily if people look like they understand what’s being asked of them or if they’re giving signs that things need some more clarity etc.
In an article published prior to the Covid pandemic, 99% of respondents said they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers (https://buffer.com/state-of-remote-work-2019) (30th October 2019).
That is a huge result and suggests that this is the way we were always headed: the current global situation just pushed us there quicker.
Fast forward to Covid and now you are expected to manage people in a new world and environment and there is a different set of obstacles to manoeuvre and negotiate…but never fear, The X-Percent are here to help! We put together a set of top tips from a question we’ve heard daily since the world went into lockdown; how do we manage our teams effectively remotely?
In our opinion, three of the key aspects to consider are; structure, motivation and expectations.
Regular video check-ins are important. If you’re used to seeing your team each day and have a regular meeting scheduled with them, keep to that schedule to maintain the routine that you’ve always had. Try not to be tempted to reduce the amount of contact you have with them, but rather, increase it. Turbulent times require more information and contact than less. As always, it depends on the people you manage and the relationship you have with them. If you’re both in agreement as to frequency and format of how to stay in contact, then do what works for you both.
Always remember to treat everyone as THEY want to be treated and not how you would like to be treated. If you’re unsure of what motivates someone, get curious about finding out what they like, enjoy etc. Is there a new project they could take on? Is there a ‘clean up’ project that requires someone who loves sorting things out and getting their hands dirty?
Be patient with yourself and others, whether you’re managing a team who are working remotely or you’re being managed remotely and finding it tricky. It’s difficult not having those body language cues, the energy of others to pick up on and bounce off and the convenience of turning around and asking a question. It may take a bit of time but you’ll get into your groove. Keep talking! Not everything needs to be a Zoom call or an email — remember you can always schedule a good old fashioned phone call.
So our top tips are:
Make a connection
Spend time learning about team members’ home life to understand them better as people. As humans, we are fundamentally social animals. We have a strong need for inclusion within a social collective. Regardless if you or your team are introverts or extroverts, in time of crises, we need connections more than ever.
Question yourself daily as to the choices you’re making and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Showing empathy and understanding in these challenging times can help your team immensely.
Be transparent in all interactions to strengthen relationships. People crave clarity and transparency in times of change and crisis so try to be as open and honest as you can.
Make time for yourself
Do something for you when possible, make at least a few moments a day for yourself to try to revive your energy and refocus yourself.
We hope you found some useful tips and advice in here. We appreciate everyone has a different style, approach and preference when it comes to people management, so take small steps and use trial and error to find new ways to manage your team in times of change. Wishing you the best of luck and if you’re interested in joining us for an online session, get in touch with us and join The X-Percent family! Stay safe folks.
The X Percent was created in 2019 by Silvia Gargiulo Founder of BIY People & Talent https://www.linkedin.com/company/biy-people-talent/and Jessica Lee Founder of Jessica Lee Consulting https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicaleeconsulting/
Silv has 20 years HR, Recruitment and People Development experience across media, specialising in the music business for the last 13 years. Jessica is a Chartered Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland and has spent 15 years in Talent Development roles globally.
The X-Percent aims to create conversations with other unconventional thinkers who are passionate about people. Think of it as an un-Convention if you will, promoting truthful talk and delivering inspiring insight, all with a people development perspective. The X-Percent welcomes both individuals and organisations and encourages people to improve what you’ve got and innovate where you can!
We believe in honesty, growth, and engagement. In fact, we’ve built our careers (and then our own businesses) around the values of integrity, transparency, fairness and trust. And in order to develop the people and the companies we work with, we encourage and actively enable learning to increase awareness and help to innovate. We want whoever we’re working with to be feel motivated, appreciated and accountable, because recognition really counts.
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