Displaying Effective Leadership In A Remote Working Environment.
This is another guest post by the wonderful Lucy Rose. Thank you, Lucy for sharing this with us.
Remote working is set to become the new norm around the globe. Before the recent coronavirus pandemic transformed the American economy, remote workers accounted for 4.7 million employees. As of March 19, there were two times the amount of remote workers compared to this time last year and the upward trend is only expected to continue, according to Ray Canzanese, Netscope’s threat research director. On the flip side of an increased occurrence of remote working setups is the rising need for a different kind of leadership — one that fits the new norm. The way you choose to lead can not only encourage employees in uncertain times like these, but also sets the tone for remote management going forward.
Create Clear Boundaries and Expectations On Both The Management And Employee Front
Leaders of remote teams need to have clear guidelines in place to avoid miscommunication, employee exhaustion and general discombobulation amongst the team. Setting these guidelines early on lets employees know what is expected of them and the processes to follow if those expectations cannot be met. With in-office performance assessment out of the picture, leaders must now set measurable and company-specific performance metrics for remote teams. It is also important to regularly revisit and update these goals if needed.
Try to not focus solely on the larger company goals when setting your guidelines. Instead, include guidelines on team and leader communications. Even without a physical office, you can still set social responsibility guidelines and promote sustainability goals. For example, you can still encourage employees to practice environmentally-conscious habits like opting for eco-conscious vehicles instead or taking part in shared rides.
To ease the difficulties in communication, create built-in slots every week where your entire team is available for team meetings and collaboration ideas. Establish recurring meetings and include them in a shared calendar that is visible to each team member so that they know what’s happening and comes prepared. Finally, make sure the team knows how to report any changes in their remote working locations or a change in project goals.
Make Communication And Feedback A Core Part Of Your Leadership Style
Regardless of the kind of leader you are, great communication is a key skill to have when managing remote teams. A study by the Harvard Business Review showed that 46 percent of remote workers thought that the best managers were the ones that checked in frequently and regularly. However, leaders should be careful not to micromanage. Employee trust is an important component in remote working. Be sure to ask employee questions at your weekly check-ins and more importantly, be open to feedback. Encourage both vertical and horizontal conversations as well as off-topic conversations amongst employees.
Keep Worker Engagement Up With Accountability And Regular Coaching Opportunities
According to a Gallup survey, 70% of an employee’s engagement is driven by their manager which highlights how significant of a role a manager plays in an employee’s experience from recruitment and onboarding to performance management and employee motivation. It is often said that managers are the most important link between a business leader’s vision and its operational front line. Therefore, training your management team on ways to engage employees and keeping those managers engaged themselves is a great place to improve your leadership.
For remote working environments, the distance and inherent freedom can often prove to be a barrier in holding workers accountable and keeping them focused. By creating a culture of accountability from the management level downwards, you can alleviate some of those common gaps that come with a remote team. Weekly team meetings and the sharing of individual goals can help employees and managers stay on task. Requiring weekly progress reports are also useful opportunities to introduce coaching and career development milestones for employees.
Keep Remote Workers And Managers Integrated With Tech Support
Remote teams center largely around the integration of good technical support. The advancement of technology has been the main propeller in the growth of remote working. For a leader of a remote team, this is no different. Having the right technical support and tools makes it easier to do their jobs and be present to guide their employees, even if they are not in the same room. Managers and team leaders can use remote management tools such as Scoro, IDoneThis, and PukkaTeam to delegate, manage projects and encourage watercooler conversations among remote workers. This is particularly useful in a remote working environment where a fear of being left out and a feeling of isolation has been prevalent.
While it is an ongoing process, leadership practices like these can help you become a better leader in a remote working setup, bringing out the best in your team in the process.
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