5 Must Reads for Global Leaders to Successfully Manage Remote Workers

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The biggest office trend today is working remotely, meaning the team leader and the team may be spread all over the city or even all over the globe. A global leader may be in New York then team members may be in Florida, or London, or New Delhi or even in Japan. Some challenges leaders face include how to supervise employees in different time zones and locations, how to build trust and have effective communications skills, how to do virtual team buildings and have a virtual team routine.

Harvard Business Review says one of the biggest misconceptions about managing remote workers is that it requires an entirely different skillset. They share what Mark Mortensen, an associate professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD, says about the topic of supervising remote workers: “We have a tendency to overcompensate and approach remote workers and virtual teams as these mythical beasts. But you shouldn’t think about them in a fundamentally different way. They are still people working in an organization to get stuff done. Treat them as such.” This may sound easy to some, but there are other developing leaders who find it difficult. Here are some books which can help a global leader learn how to manage their remote team:

 REMOTE – Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson & Basecamp (Kindle price $11.05)

Forbes says REMOTE is certainly the most popular (and perhaps first-to-market) title written by Basecamp co-founder Jason Fried. The book covers the concept of remote work from beginning to end–why flexible and distributed work is a viable option; how to kick-off your first team; how to collaborate and exist as remote workers. The book describes how important remote work is and has sections with tips and techniques for effective leadership that a leader can use.

YOUR BRAIN AT WORK – David Rock and Daniel J. Siegel, MD (Kindle price $14.74)

Crossover says that with a subtitle like “Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long,” it’s pretty clear why the concepts covered in Your Brain at Work are relevant for remote teams. The author is a leadership coach and the co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute and claims he wrote the book to help readers understand how their brains function and then apply that knowledge to improve their focus and productivity at work. His work focuses on training for leadership and how to deal with workplace challenges like emails, interruptions, and stress: all of which are synonymous with remote work.

 THE FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM – Patrick Lencioni (Kindle price $10.70)

Remote shares that having thriving teams that work well together is essential, especially in a remote environment. This book examines the different areas of challenges that teams tend to face that cause failure. The book offers a leadership fable that tells a story about Kathryn Petersen, a CEO who faces a leadership crisis regarding a team that is in such bad shape that they might be the cause of her company’s collapse. Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which go to the very heart of why teams, even the best ones, often struggle, which makes this a must-read for every leader, remote working or not.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS MY TEAM? – Terence Brake (Kindle price $14.24)

Lars Sudmann describes this book as a very nice and unusual book told from the perspective of a virtual team leader and via this narrative format, some practical tips and ideas are given. The author himself call this an easy–to–follow guide, ideal for managers and those interested in learning about executive management and succeeding in a global economy. It introduces new technologies but focuses especially on the six Key Performance Zones for global team collaboration with briefing report summaries to emphasize key points. The objective of the book, via fictional character Will Williams, is to accustom leaders to the challenges of a virtual workplace.

THE GO-GIVER LEADER – Bob Burg and John David Mann (Kindle price $12.99)

Entrepreneur confirms what everyone should know by now: Great leaders don’t try to act like “leaders”, instead, they strive to be more human. The author focuses on the concept that “if you give, you shall receive.” This promotes a mindset of higher consciousness and expands on the idea that your influence is determined by whether you place others’ interests first. This helps leaders of remote workers by finding the power within themselves to create prosperity for their communities and society, as well as for their companies and employees.

The five books featured above are just some of the gems a global leader can find regarding leadership and management of their remote working team. Today especially, remote work has become a great asset to multiple startups, reports Hubstaff, and the range of online and offline tools to help boost team productivity and communication continue to grow. Leaders who are part of remote teams should find resources that will help optimize their remote working setup in order to make their businesses successful and instill good leadership skills in themselves at the same time.


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