How to Manage a Remote Team

by Lee Martin

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Jan 14, 2021

Hello, Stephanie here from TOOJAY’s training and in this short video I just wanted to share with you our experiences of virtual leadership and how to manage your remote teams effectively. We’ll look at some of the best practice tips hints and skills for leaders we’ve obtained in helping organizations transition from the office environment to working remotely with their team. If you manage a remote team then this video is
for you keep watching to the end to get access to some exclusive additional
materials.

In 2020 the global pandemic forced almost all businesses across the world into utilizing remote work and remote team management. For some this
was a totally new concept and as a result many leaders were ill-equipped and unsure how to engage their teams effectively. Nonetheless there’s been a huge swell of desire to continue with the flexibility and benefits that working from home brings. As well as the cost reductions organizations are able to realize as they no longer need multi-million pound corporate
offices so remote working is here to stay but how do you manage and lead remote teams effectively?

Let’s look at the five key areas identified to ensure you become an effective leader of remote teams starting with:

Five Key Areas To Become An Effective Leader

 

1. The need to provide a clear vision

Reminding your workforce of the organization’s strategic vision and giving clarity on its purpose and objectives is crucial for individuals to be able to focus on the tasks they’re presented with determining what is important and what’s not.

When remote workers are able to correctly prioritize their work, align to what they know is the organization’s strategy they can feel more empowered equipped and better able to manage their time. Saving the knowledge that they’re doing the right thing for the right reason. Conversely, a lack of clarity on the vision and direction of the organization leads to uncertainty unproductive behaviours time wasted and ultimately disengagement so check your team understands the vision the purpose and their part in achieving the organizational goals. Part of the team understanding is down to you and your communication so that takes us on to two.

2. Communication

Communicating your expectations remote working means there’s a lack of non-verbal communication the language of the body where mood tone intent and true meaning are often signalled so as a leader of a remote team. You need to work harder at ensuring all your team clearly understand your expectations in addition to the lack of contact with you your remote workers are having to deal with distractions all around them. Distractions to their working day such as parenting home schooling, caring for relatives, internet and wi-fi issues as well as amazon delivery drivers at the front door. Be sure to be explicit in setting expectations on when tasks need to be completed by which things take priority, who owns tasks and who is accountable for actions. Simple communication around such expectations can reduce the chances of confusion and problems later this takes us on to the third consideration. Ground rules for engagement the common leadership phrase ‘my door is always open’ only really works if you have an office and a door so when your team is working from home they need to know how and when they can get to speak to you should they need to.

3. Setting Expectations

Set the expectations around your availability. Now this may see you establish regular team meetings and if so it’s important for these meetings to be effective and to be a good use of everyone’s time.

Probably the most overused phrase in 2020 was ‘you’re on mute’ so ensure there’s clear ground rules in play to create effective online meetings with everyone following appropriate webinar etiquette. Ensure your team understand the importance of being punctual. Being late to an online meeting is just as disruptive as being late to a real world meeting and causes delays and discontent.

Ask the team to ensure they have their cameras switched on. This increases the connectivity within the team and enables non-verbal communication to be utilized. It’s also effective for ensuring everyone is present. Paying attention and engaged in the meeting request that during the meeting the team is not multitasking. You wouldn’t expect individuals to be typing an email or talking to someone else or watching something on the TV in an office meeting so it shouldn’t be happening in an online meeting? Either by providing these ground rules you can ensure everyone has an effective productive meeting.

4. Team Development

Now the next thing to consider is the team dynamic, so that takes us to point four team development. All too often a focus on being productive when your team is working remotely from home can see some organizations forget the importance and significance of team development activities.

Investing time with the team and building relationships trust and understanding has a heightened importance when individuals can feel potentially isolated alone and cut off from their colleagues by prolonged periods of working remotely. Think of how you can create social activities events learning challenges and subsequently engagement with your team. Even if they’re not physically together in the office the onboarding of new hires to a team they haven’t physically met or engaged with in person also highlights the need for you to consider how you welcome them into your team and how you keep the sense of team and camaraderie alive and well which leads us to the fifth consideration.

5. Motivating Remote Workers

Motivating remote workers, keeping remote workers focused engaged and motivated is seen to be one of the biggest challenges facing managers. As a leader being aware of your leadership style, your approach, your tone and your own emotional intelligence have always been key skills but in managing a remote team these become even more important and it’s essential that you individualize your approach that’s to say ensure you’re adapting your style to the individual, the situation and their needs.

Our leading team’s remotely online course goes into more detail on how to achieve this but consider your ability to listen empathize and apply situational leadership appropriately.

Motivation may take many different forms: consider how you’re keeping workers connected to your company culture for example, if there’s free drinks fruit or snacks normally available in the office a well-placed delivery of the same could have a highly motivating effect in individuals as they link the gift back to your organization and its values and culture in the absence of corridor conversations encourage your team to stay in touch and share non-work updates that are happening in their lives and that are important to them a birthday a marriage a birth or a house move or similar events.

Enable them to share through Whatsapp, slack, messenger or other social platforms that don’t take up official company communication channels.

So there you have it five key considerations for the effective management of remote teams.

We hope you enjoyed it and we hope you found it useful. If you’d like some exclusive free additional material in the form of our development workbooks on effective meetings and motivational skills then email info@toojays.co.uk. Include the word remote in the title and we’ll send them to you for access to our online course leading remote teams.

Then visit www.toojays.com and click on online courses for more information. Just contact us on the link below or on our website www.toojays.co.uk and don’t forget to subscribe to us on our YouTube channel where you can see more how-to videos just like this one we look forward to seeing you in our next video.

Thank You.

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