Being a remote worker is so common today that we overlook that remote workers are also leaders and managers wanting to know how to be a leader in cyberspace. It’s easy to overlook how essential the skill of remote management is because, for many, the classic picture of a “manager” still means someone sitting at a desk in an office surrounded by (or overlooking) their team shares Entrepreneur. Managers who work remotely need to remember that a successful remote working team is a reflection of their effective leadership skills and will be crucial for their career advancement.
There are many challenges to global leadership in a virtual workplace such as different time zones and language barriers but there are always tricks to make leadership and management easier. While at first glance it may seem that all the same leadership skills are needed, it may be that leaders in a virtual environment need just a little more of everything: more knowledge of technology, more knowledge on how to work with team dynamics, stronger communication skills, and of course, a little more patience according to Association for Talent Development. Here are 5 tried and tested tips that can help you be a better leader for your remote staff:
- Acknowledge your team – This is everything from making sure they know what you expect from them to treating them like you would a team that is in the office. Gallup reminds that one of the biggest challenges managers of remote workers face is unclear expectations. Keep in mind that strategic leadership makes sure that the staff knows what their leader wants them to do as well as appreciates what they can do. Use various techniques to follow-up on your staff, like phone calls, emails, and text messages. They will appreciate the checks and you will reap the rewards with them.
- Focus on output – be sure to focus on the results given by your virtual staff, as they may have varied ways of getting to the end of a task. Focus on what each team member delivers and be encouraging with every effort; this will show them your true management skills. Set a positive precedent by welcoming challenges as exciting new opportunities that offer a chance to achieve something cool, interesting and innovative advises Forbes.
- Encourage socialization – The image of co-workers gathering around a water cooler is a metaphor for informal interactions that share information and reinforce social bonds adds Harvard Business Review. This is also beneficial to improve leadership practices among your virtual staff. Have your remote workers interact online in a chatroom like Skype, Google Hangouts or Slack to chat about their work and bond just like they would do in a regular office set-up.
- Embrace technology – Remote leaders should understand and effectively use technology to help with leadership team development. This includes knowing the tools available to help meet your communication goals, choosing the right tool for the job, and using them effectively discloses Management-Issues. The tools one uses must not be limited to one, example, only using webinars to teach the remote workers. Good leadership skills include knowing to use a variety of webinars, PDFs, audio books and more.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – Hubstaff reminds that regular communication keeps your team members in the loop and helps them feel more connected to your organization. Regularly schedule meetings online or even in person, to touch base or to discuss work. Offer praise and recognition to your remote workers and avoid only giving negative feedback. Effective communication skills include being approachable and making sure your team is always well-informed.
Remote management needs a highly talented manager with executive leadership skills. Gallup reminds that managers who want to maintain effective relationships with their remote workers should keep these foundational issues top of mind all the time: expectations, communication, accountability, and engagement. There are many traits that define a good manager and you may have some of those traits naturally but these tips we’ve shared may help increase effective leadership within a remote working team.