6 Tips For Executives To Lead A Remote Team
Some people are uncomfortably assembling a remote work team because they feel they cannot achieve the same collaborative and productive work environment as they can in, say, a centralized office. Those people are wrong.
In this article:
- Research Software
- Train Your Team Members
- Get to Know Everyone in One-on-Ones
- Let Employees Get to Know Each Other
- Strictly Enforce Business Hour Availability
- Don’t Be Stuffy
Thanks to modern technology, you can do anything you can do in an office remotely. Here are some tips on how to take full advantage of that technology and lead a productive remote work team.
There are thousands upon thousands of really well-designed remote work software available nowadays, many of them free.
Do your research and find the best ones for your project and your work team specifically.
You need your team to collaborate on art pieces in real-time? There are tons of dedicated programs that allow them to do so.
We need to quickly synthesize the averages of measurements sent in by individuals on the team. There’s almost certainly an app that does just that and does it well.
Don’t just download Google Docs, Dropbox, and Skype (the old standbys) and call it a day.
Train Your Team Members
Many remote workers have a hard time getting the hang of a new position or a new project because they feel so isolated. Since they are not thrust into a work environment as they would be in an office, they think there is no one to show them the ropes. You can counter this by making yourself available.
For the first few days, an employee is part of your team, and they will greatly appreciate a lot of guidance on what to do, how to do it, and where to leave it once complete. Give them a methodology so they can navigate by themselves in the future.
This is not only a comfort for them. It’s also your opportunity to make sure your team does things in the most efficient way possible.
Get to Know Everyone in One-on-Ones
Offices shove a bunch of people into the same building, so you’re bound to meet all your team members just by taking a stroll around the office floor. These meetings help you to bond with your team, and that bond allows you to manage them better.
In a remote work team, you have to make a point to get to know your team members one by one anyway. You can do this through the use of video conferencing tools.
As a rule, don’t let three work days go by without talking to each of your remote team members at least once in a one-on-one chat. Ask them how they’re doing and if they need help with anything, and also try to learn a bit about them as a person.
Let Employees Get to Know Each Other
The members of a team need to get to know each other, too. It fosters better communication and keeps up worker morale.
Encourage employees to socialize as much as possible with each other. Don’t be too persistent, because that’s creepy. And don’t watch over their interactions like a parent on a children’s playdate.
But it’s essential to make channels open for social activity and let the team members know they are there. You might even want to provide some sort of incentive for being active on the channels.
CIO Jason James calls these spaces “digital water coolers;” totally interactive video chat rooms employees can (and should) go to during their breaks just to have fun and get to know one another.
Strictly Enforce Business Hour Availability
Make absolutely sure your team members are all able to catch up and collaborate with each other every workday.
They might not all be available for the entire day — time zones are one of the downsides of having a widespread team — but they need to be there some of the time.
Also, they need to let others know when they are available and when they’re not. It might be as simple as a “Todd is active” status update, but it’s your job to make sure it’s there, and it’s accurate.
Don’t Be Stuffy
This is an excellent leadership tip for all kinds of projects nowadays, but it’s especially important for leading remote teams.
Be approachable. Be flexible. Don’t be the boss who always video calls in a suit and makes your team members feel on edge.
Instead, be calm and laid-back. Coming off as smart and focused is undoubtedly important, but it’s fine to rock a plain black t-shirt instead of a coat and tie.
For 21 other quick tips about managing remote teams, watch this video presented by Time Doctor co-founder Liam Martin.
IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE LEADING OR PARTICIPATING IN A REMOTE WORK TEAM, DO YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL TIPS? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!