While remote working is challenging for all employees, leaders and managers are facing new difficulties too. Even experienced leaders are finding the move to remote working to be very different, causing them to review how they engage and lead a team.
As you would expect, there are many similarities between leading a team in the office environment, and in leading a remote team. However, there are also differences. It is helpful for managers and leaders to understand the principles of remote working leadership, and to learn ways to best support and guide their team.
Arrange a virtual get-together early on
Bringing people together early on in the process makes sense. If you have a new team, this will help in introducing people, and creating a bond. If you have an established team, this reinforces that not much has changed and that everyone is still working as a team.
As a leader, you need to instil the same form of team spirit you would do so in the office. Working remotely poses new challenges, but it shouldn’t be too different.
Tasks and processes are as crucial as roles and goals
If your team runs smoothly, you can often give people an outcome you want to achieve, and they will set about achieving this aim. Similarly, if roles are well-defined in the office, many people will naturally take to their task.
Of course, working practices have changed when teams work remotely. You must clarify tasks and working processes. Provide people with more details, and if there is a change to the natural order, you must address these issues.
Try to communicate as clearly and as forcefully as possible, as this will help your team understand what needs to be done to achieve aims and complete tasks.
Work out the best communication channels
Not every team works the same, and not every person in a team works in the same manner. However, there needs to be a set way of working and communicating that all team members adhere to. There is also a need to be flexible.
There will be times when a short email or post on a management or communication board is adequate to inform your team of what needs to be done. However, there will be times when there needs to be two-way communication. For these matters, phone calls, video calls or conference calls can speed up the process without harming effectiveness.
Get to know the rhythm of your team
In the office, there will be people or clusters that work by themselves within the team set-up. This is likely to be the same when working remotely. As a team leader or manager, you need to recognise the importance of working rhythms, and regulate how they work together.
If specific tasks need to be completed before the next stage of work can be started, you need to manage the workflow to reach this point. As a leader, you need to oversee the flow from start to end, making sure people work in a way that maintains this flow.
You also need to facilitate time for breaks and employees to catch-up. In the office environment, “water cooler” breaks are helpful in refreshing team members and creating a positive atmosphere. The same can be said for the remote working environment. As a leader, you must recognise this and engage the process.
If you would like more guidance and training on how to lead effectively while your team members are working remotely, please contact Global Solution Services today or join onto any of our webinars or on-line training courses, and we will be happy to assist you in achieving your goals, allowing you to care for yourself, and your loved ones.