More and more employees are now working from home. How do you know that your remote team likes how you lead them? This article explains.
Even before the world was forced to go on lockdown due to COVID-19, we’d already seen the rapid increase in the number of remote workers. Now that major companies are forced to operate online, we can expect a shift in the way that people work and do business.
We can clearly see the numerous benefits of working from home, including increased productivity and satisfaction with work and life balance. However, supervising a team of remote employees can be tricky, especially to new managers.
This is because communication and productivity might be harder to monitor. When working remotely, it can be difficult to know how well someone is doing their job or if they’re going beyond what is expected of them.
Carrying your duties as a leader, whether it is in the office or working with a team remotely, takes experience, patience, and training. It would be unwise to step into leadership without having adequate experience. The responsibility involves coaching, employee reinforcement, and encouragement.
Remote team leadership
Most remote workers go about their day in a different way. While they are still similar to those doing regular office work, they need a solid leadership style to motivate them to perform better.
Successful remote workers accomplish their daily work in their home office, away from colleagues and superiors. This is why they need a leader who has the ability to encourage them from afar.
Goals and expectations need to be communicated in regular, digestible ways. Sharing information effectively is a typical challenge in remote work. This is not only because employees and leaders live in different timezones, but it’s also because most remote workers have other gigs and freelancing commitments. Being unavailable for coaching and collaboration keep them from performing their roles better.
It is very important for remote workers to know the company’s goals and the things expected of them. It is also essential to let them know how their role contributes to achieving those goals. If this is done successfully, their motivation and productivity will be higher.
Remote teams often end up in disarray, especially when there is no straightforward description of tasks. Without proper communication, tasks can easily get messed up and time spent on the job can easily go to waste.
Technology plays a huge role in preventing this from happening. With project management apps, team members can see precisely where projects are, what needs to be done, and how to do them.
Common challenges of working remotely
Some people who work in remote environments are much more confident than their office-bound peers. These workers are self-starters — instead of waiting for guidance, they take action. However, issues occur when they end up with a micromanaging boss who seeks to know what they do or how they are doing the job minute by minute.
As a leader, setting the necessary margins, deadlines and expectations is part of the job. Letting your remote workers make decisions is highly important. Also, delegation is necessary to prevent others from disengaging themselves.
Micromanagement is a temptation that’s hard to resist when handling a remote team. Especially if you’re working on an urgent project, it’s very easy to feel pressured and pass that pressure to your colleagues. It gets more challenging when you can’t see what your team members are doing. However, micromanagement is a bad habit, so don’t get into the pit.
With proper delegation, encouragement, and supervision, you have nothing more to worry about. As long as the workers complete their assignments within the defined deadlines, you’re doing your job well.
Another mistake team leaders do is reaching out to workers at wee hours of a day. Never send emails, texts, or instant messages outside working hours. You are not only putting pressure on your employees but also compromising the way they see you as a leader.
Respect their personal lives. Do your best to assist them in finding a healthy work-life balance. Influence them positively by giving out friendly advice such as asking them to take a weekend digital detox. This might sound a no-brainer, but relaxed employees are productive employees.
5 telltale signs that you’re a great remote team leader
Here are five signs your remote team approves of your leadership style.
They respect you in a genuine manner
One sign that your remote team respects you is that they listen and look up to you. They believe you have what it takes to be a team leader. They respect your inputs and welcome your suggestions, especially during meetings and brainstorming.
Respect is well-earned if people in your remote team know that you can assume a managerial position and handle it well. This is achievable if you’re supportive of your team and well-versed with your work. You will be respected more when you go the extra mile, doing what’s beyond your job description.
Learn from the good qualities and even flaws of your past managers or supervisors. Try to get the good principles and strategies of your previous leaders. Take note of their negative habits and make sure to stay away from those.
They want to build a good relationship with you
You’d know that your team approves of your leadership style if they want to foster a good working relationship with you. They feel that you are willing to build a stronger rapport with them, and so they find it easy to collaborate with you.
Leaders develop a good relationship with their teams if team members feel that their inputs are always welcome. A true leader needs to be humble enough to receive suggestions and opinions from team members and implement them as necessary. Keep in mind that being a leader doesn’t mean you are always right.
Likewise, socialisation and interaction with fellow workers are essential. Doing this occasionally will leave a positive effect on the psychological health of your employees and yourself.
They find you reliable and accommodating
Your remote team approves of you as a leader if they feel that you are someone they can rely on when it comes to problem-solving. They communicate with you without hesitation and you listen to them without annoyance.
A great leader always has the time to listen to suggestions and issues of the team. When they perceive you as a dependable and approachable leader, your projects would surely be smooth-sailing, if not incredibly successful.
It’s a plus if you can give your remote workers sound advice. This just proves you know what you’re doing and you know very well how your department works.
They find your ideas effective
Your leadership style is effective if your teammates implement your ideas and follow the processes you set for each task. If they see that you’re adept at finding ways to save money, energy, and time, they will look up to you as a leader.
A good leader always keeps company processes in check – especially if they involve marketplace competition, finances, and operations of the business. You must be knowledgeable and find ways to better manage the tasks and streamline the processes. If you can distribute workload efficiently, you’ll be seen as an effective leader.
They believe in themselves because of you
Your teammates believe in themselves because you let them realise their potential. You regularly shower them with praises and words of encouragement that they can accomplish anything with a proper mindset.
Do this consistently and you’ll see that the job always gets done, and your team members continue to flourish as your company grows.
Have you got all the checkboxes ticked? Congratulations, your leadership style is remote-worker approved!
About the Author
Angeline Licerio is a content writer for Elevate Corporate Training. They are a team of passionate professionals dedicated to improving performance of individuals and teams within organisations.