Whether a newly promoted manager or whether you have years of management experience, navigating leadership and smooth management of a remote team can undoubtedly be daunting and stressful. Here are 5 ways you can maintain your position as a strong leader and manage your team effectively, without feeling like you are either micromanaging them, or being rather disconnected from them.
1. Communicating effectively
It is important to ensure that the message you are sending to your team is unambiguous and not interpreted in a different way. This is particularly different when working remotely as employees feel more hesitant to email or hold a video meeting if they are unsure. In your communication, you must ensure if verbal or written communication is most appropriate. If verbal, you will also want to document all communication so that employees have a record of what was communicated. Moreover, it is important to consider communication with staff who are in different time zones and ensure that they understand the correct deadlines and urgency of tasks.
2. Get to know your team members as you would in the office
It is much easier to know your team members and build a relationship with them when you are physically in their presence every day. Virtually, this could be a challenge which results in a lack of team spirit and morale. It is therefore important to be proactive in getting to know your team and organising video calls to catch up with work unrelated topics. Not only could you spend time at the beginning of meetings talking personally to colleagues, but you could also organise one on one calls with team members to casually discuss their progress professionally and ask about their goals, any challenges and training opportunities they could get involved in.
3. Set goals and priorities
It is important to make team goals, deadlines and priorities extremely clear in a remote working environment. This could be done, for example, by setting a task and following up with a quick call to emphasise the importance of it, which translates better with tone of voice, body language and cues, and simultaneously gives you the chance to address any questions regarding the task. You could also create a system where tasks are marked with different priority levels to avoid any confusion or tasks getting delayed.
4. Check in on employees and any challenges they are facing
It is important to get a realistic understanding of whether you are approachable to employees at all different levels, and addressing any obstacles where employees do not feel comfortable speaking about professional struggles. It is crucial to make employees aware that you are not too busy or unwilling to help, or you must communicate the appropriate hierarchy to make clear who they should refer their queries to. Be proactive in checking in on a regular basis and asking if they need help with any task, big or small.
By focusing on clear communication and building good team spirit and cooperation, you are certain to build a team who not only delivers high quality and timely work, but a team who is likely to stick around in the long term when returning to working in the office.