Patrick Mensah, CEO of Wallstreet Investment.
With the way things stand right now, remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the number of employees who opt to work from home is still increasing. But it’s not just employees who have had to adjust for new schedules and routines; managers also had to change their leadership styles as work switched from office to home to hybrid.
Managing a team spread across diverse locations and time zones can be daunting. But in my experience, it can also make you a more promising leader. Let’s think of remote work as an interesting challenge for a moment and consider how to approach this challenge with an eye for building up our management skills and our teams.
Mastering The Art Of Communication
Clear and open lines of communication ensure everyone is on the same page. Regular video calls, group chats and timely email updates can take care of this to an extent; however, communication isn’t just about relaying information. Fostering a sense of community among those in your team is crucial for bridging the distance. Consider holding virtual team-building activities and encouraging informal conversations to help create that sense of camaraderie.
Effective communication also means being an active listener and addressing concerns. Giving support when and where it’s needed is a good way to address your team’s mental and physical needs and help them put their best foot forward while working. Take GitLab, for example: They have several strategies to ease communication, including daily stand-up meetings and weekly one-on-ones. GitLab also has company-wide video calls to help forge a fun office environment. They call it virtual coffee break, where team members can chat on video call while taking a break.
Forging Trust Through Unwavering Transparency
It’s important to have faith in your team members and trust them to work independently and deliver outstanding results. You can achieve this by establishing crystal-clear expectations and providing consistent, constructive feedback. Empower team members by granting them the freedom to make decisions. With this, you can ignite a spark of trust and kindle the flames of leadership within the team. For instance, remote team members are often in a better position to spot inefficiencies in workflows, so give them the power to propose changes to these processes.
In my experience, leaders also need to exhibit relentless transparency and honesty with their team members. This entails openly sharing information and owning up to mistakes. For example, Buffer has embraced a culture of radical transparency. They disclose financial information to all employees and candidly discuss company decisions.
Embracing Flexibility And Adaptability
We live in a constantly evolving virtual world, and leaders must be able to adjust their strategies accordingly. This may demand embracing cutting-edge technologies or devising innovative solutions to challenges. For example, remote workers log in with their own Wi-Fi connections, so they need an extra layer of cybersecurity. Consider incorporating VPN and two-factor authentication to protect remote teams from cyber threats.
Flexibility extends to being understanding of the unique needs of remote workers. For instance, some team members may have caregiving responsibilities, so strive to accommodate these needs to support your team members. The company Automattic operates with several flexibility policies, including flexible schedules, unlimited vacation time and a home office stipend. They’re the same company behind WordPress.com.
Equipping Your Team For Success
Leading a remote team is not easy. Leaders must give their teams the tools and resources they need to do well. Good collaboration tools that work for everyone are a must-have when it comes to effectively managing your team.
But it’s not just about the tools; leaders must also give strong support. Take time to actively train your team members and yourself on how to effectively work remotely. Check in with your remote teammates often, and consider offering special projects and even leadership roles to give them chances to learn and grow in their careers; this can help keep your remote workers interested and motivated despite the lack of in-person interaction. Take Zapier, which gives its remote workers incentives each month for working in a shared office or at home. The company also gives its workers many chances to learn and grow in their careers.
Finally, it’s important to celebrate success. This shows your gratitude for your team’s efforts and nurtures a sense of unity and motivation. Consider sending congratulatory emails or giving shoutouts in group chats and video calls. You can also send small presents like gift cards or company-branded items. Celebrate both individual and team successes; this shows that everyone’s work is important and that working together is key to reaching goals, and it helps build a sense of pride in the team’s work.
Remember, you don’t need a grand gesture to celebrate success. Even small recognition can make a big difference in how the team feels. So take time to celebrate wins, big or small.
The world is redirecting to a hybrid work culture. Companies are hiring remote employees from around the world. As a remote team manager, you will most likely need to step up and adopt new strategies and techniques. Of course, anything new in business comes with its own risk, so never stop researching ways to keep your team productive, motivated and connected.
The Covid pandemic has shaken the foundations of our work culture. It revealed that remote work is not just a passing trend but an essential component of our future. Instead of worrying over whether or not it will stay, let’s put more effort into making sure it’s an inclusive, fair and sustainable model for all.
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