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7 Ways To Promote Team Leadership While Managing Remote Workers

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Although remote workers usually experience increased productivity, the out-of-office distance can be felt between coworkers. Employing a strong leadership program with clear guidelines and a specific protocol will help control communication and expectations of employees. You want to encourage employees to perform their best, take initiative, and make responsible choices in the workplace, whether that’s in-office or at home. Managers need to focus on building and maintaining leadership strategies amongst remote teams to create context, increase communication, and overlook accountability.

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The virtual distance felt by all team members requires a strong sense of company culture to motivate and mitigate work quality and enthusiasm. Department leads need to reinforce the goals and objectives found in their office setting and to help recreate it for their remote staff. Outlining the traditional office standards to virtual teams will make expectations clearer and offer strategic direction. Designing a leadership structure for remote work that set-ups expected behaviours, goals, and deadlines leaves less room for error. For this to succeed, it’s imperative to make employees feel emotionally connected and psychologically important to the on-goings of their associated office on coworkers.  We’ve compiled 7 management variables that promote team leadership in remote workers below:

Technology as a Tool

One of the reasons remote work tends to grow and flourishes in various company dynamics is because of the way technology is adopted. Wielding tech as a catalyst for replicating the office structure on a digital platform creates a space for open discourse and syncing work to ensure everyone is on the same page. Strong leadership influences everyone and affects all factors of production. Creating a digital landscape that meets your operational needs is essential for helping both parties feel connected and get up to speed.

Approach your tech strategy as an extension of your physical office and a mirror of your company’s morale, ethics, and culture. It also mirrors how successful remote work will be. Employing managers to be well-equipped for any technical difficulties or potential hiccups will have prepared them for its adoption. Regardless of how tech-savvy managers are, it’s imperative to have leaders qualified, trained, and ready to navigate technology as more than just a resource. Approach tech as another location of your company’s office(s).

Close the Gap of Virtual Distance

With the utilization of technology comes the inevitable feeling of virtual distance. The remote team can potentially feel like an outsider to the core in-office team, while the in-office team may feel like strangers to those working from home. Solid leadership tactics anticipate this and prepare for it. Managers should plan to acquaint team members through teamwork strategies and “ice-breaker” projects for everyone to feel a sense of understanding and to identify possible benefits and setbacks.\

Leverage your digital platform to get creative with collaborative strategies, outline strengths, and create meaningful engagement. Evolving the office onto a digital scene is cultural concern and can either be adopted with resistance or open arm, depending on how accommodating your approach is. Analyze how and where your existing teams flourish and understand how it can be simulated online. Remote managers need to understand that technology is used as the middle man for connected both sides of the team and should work to help, not hinder, communications.

Foster Clear Company Culture

Replicating the existing culture of your company may require an evolution. Leadership roles should understand that inclusivity needs to be emphasized since the physical distance can cause a sense of mental divergence between team members. It’s the leader’s responsibility to practice the company’s values, foster open communication, and to lead by example. Leaders and their strategy represent the cultural practices that allow your company to operate optimally, cultivate wellness, and give competitive edge. Learn how to develop your own flexible company culture here.

Regularly update team members, check-in, and encourage collaboration by being an effective communicator, practicing good work habits, and always seeking the best-interests of staff and company endeavors. The ambiguous nature of physical distance can be relieved with new guidelines, appropriate use and choice of mediums, and interactive expectations between staff. Plan cultural events, such as group coffee chats, video meetings, and introductory activities to orient members with each other, their projects, and anticipated goals.

Welcome Trial and Error as a Leadership Strategy

The adoption of change will always experience trial and error as development strategy and successful leadership programs leverage this as a means of growth. Data tracking pitfalls, areas of confusion, and times of success will help hone and edit the perfect program for your company. Leaders shouldn’t be afraid of mistakes and obstacles because they offer future solutions.

It’s important to devise management teams to lead change and to monitor its fluctuations. This will help gather a big-picture idea of how you can support remote workers, improve your platform, and decrease any possible disconnect. This is a vital step for understanding how your company works and the variables that influence where it prospers and where employees feel supported. Clearly pinpointing areas that need focus will help prioritize management plans to fast-track project development. Here are some do’s and dont’s for developing strong leadership goals.

Trust Goes A Long Way

Establishing a sense of trust in remote employees can be difficult for those in the office. Project leaders may feel a constant need to check-in and micro-manage teams that work from home. Good leadership directors treat employees equally, with the expectations for accountability and productivity. Remote workers may feel their leaders overstep and overwhelm them, and thus feel a lost sense of trust. This immediately and directly causes strife and demotivates employees. This external stress and fear can directly affect employee performance and create a hostile environment.

The team is only as successful as each individual member, and vice versa. Being confident in your employees will entice them to take more initiative, creative direction, and the freedom to work their best. Establishing a nourishing climate that allows staff to work in their best way will produce their best work. The symbiotic relationship between employee and their work depends on how well they’re supported by managers, coworkers, and company resources.

Encourage Feedback

Having open discourse for construct criticism from both leaders and staff will create a health platform for seeking improvement. The physical distance can make it harder to see or hear areas of concern, so it’s important to designate a safe space that encourages feedback. Regardless of how well your leadership already is, it will always need work to maintain and grow with the inevitable corporate fluctuations.

Managers should take this information and convert into the form of solutions to organize and delegate new strategies. Have leaders carve out segmented times and space to check-in, ask questions, and brain-storm with their departments to voice wins and losses will make short and long term goals clear and achievable.  

Focus on Adaptability

Adaptability and preparation will always put your company on a pedestal during times of change or difficulty. Designing leadership programs that are solid in disposition but adaptable throughout any obstacle saves time and money, increases longevity, and eases emotional strain.

Getting employees acquainted with these strategies will have them prepared for future disturbances and empower them with the mental flexibility to endure future situations. Having a universal strategy for employees to abide by, especially if it means expanding remote work is a key managerial tool for success.

 

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Lisa Curic

Lisa Curic

Lisa brings almost 30 years of experience to her role as the executive vice president at GroupQuest Benefits Resources Inc. She has worked for several different insurance businesses and co-founded a group benefits MGA in 2006. Lisa’s dedication and hard work has played a significant role in growing GroupQuest from two to over 40 employees in less than 10 years, and in making it one of the largest group benefit MGAs in Canada. Outside of her busy work schedule, Lisa enjoys reading, travelling, working out, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two children.

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