Leading a Remote Team: 6 Keys to Success
Technology has changed many things. One of the areas that technology has successfully infiltrated is the modern workplace. Initially, employees had to be in the office for them to be able to work. This is because it was where all the office equipment needed for work was stored; such as files, desktop computers and telephones.
The traditional office set up is now being replaced by a post-modern one where employees do not need to be in the office for work to get done and board members do not have to fly city to city to attend meetings. This is all thanks to technology such as video conferencing, cloud computing, smartphones and so on. Simply put, technology has not only changed the way business is done but also changed how managers lead their employees. At some point, you may be leading a remote team, and you will need to take a different approach than you would in a traditional office setting.
How to Successfully Lead a Remote Team
Leading a remote team will require you to do things a little differently. Here is what you should do to successfully lead your team remotely.
1. Start with Company Core Value Training
A company’s culture has an essential contribution to its success. While distance may pose a challenge in achieving this, core value training will go a long way in getting everyone to be on the same page. How do you go about this? By communicating the core values of the organization during interviews, meetings, off-sites, one-on-one encounters, and other company events. Ensure that during the hiring process, you communicate with the candidates about the mission of the organization and the core values the company operates by. Then reiterate in decision-making how the decision ties to specific core values.
2. Set Clear Expectations
At this point, it is important to let the new employees understand what is expected of them. This includes availability hours, response time, tools they must use, etc. Remember remote work may mean different time zones so having “core hours” and “flex hours” for working may be needed.
With this set out clearly, it will be easier to nurture and maintain the organization’s culture as everyone has an understanding of the organization’s values and what the company expectation is.
3. Consistent Communication Meetings
Communication is critical for every successful business. Managing a remote team may come with its own set of challenges, especially in this area. Technology provides you with the opportunity to establish excellent communication. For instance, video conferencing allows people to connect remotely on a personal level. It will enable effective communication where you can read the body language of the people you are communicating with. Not to mention it is a flexible option and can also save time and money versus traveling.
4. Get Feedback Regularly
Effective communication is vital in leading a virtual team. Feedback is one aspect of communication that managers need to pay attention to while managing a remote team. It should be two ways! Both giving feedback and asking for feedback and input is critical to success.
In terms of what type of feedback, it is important to be giving and receiving from team members both positive and constructive feedback about practices and strategies. Positive feedback is meant to motivate the team members to do even better. It encourages and boosts. Constructive feedback, on the other hand, is supposed to contain information that sheds light on problems and also provides solutions to them. Regular feedback will help employees to have the clarity needed to understand the goals, objectives, and their role within accomplishing these items.
5. Use Project Management Tools
While having a remote workforce comes with many benefits, managing the team is not always easy. That is why you need to incorporate project management tools. You will not get the chance to see your colleagues in the office every day and therefore will miss out on the opportunities to ask or answer questions.
Project management tools like Asana will help you stay on top of deadlines, collaborate with your team members, create project budgets, and create positive team engagement.
6. Use Collaborative Tools for Daily Communication
Managing a virtual team is different from a traditional team. With that, there is a need to compensate for the lack of face-to-face interaction. What that means is that using collaborative tools for daily communication are a must-have. The tools will help you ensure there are constant communication and efficient flow of information.
This can include emails, video chats, text chat, VoIP, and so on. The tools should be able to create a personal connection, take care of the time constraint, and make it possible for you to share with your team how different processes work.
Managing a remote team will require a different approach from the traditional management many have been used to. Technology has made it possible for managers to have geographically distributed teams which come with the benefit of getting access to the best skills in the market and the ability to save on operation costs. However, to get the most out of your virtual team, the tips listed above should be considered and implemented.
Need help implementing a remote team plan or improving communication within your remote team? Contact Mike to discuss ways he can offer consulting to help.