Leading & Managing Remote Teams

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Author: Mags Treanor

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04.14.2020

I recently co-hosted the first in a series of online workshops around the topic of leading & managing remote teams. Remote teams are nothing new for many of us, but who could have been prepared for going 100% remote with practically no notice and in many cases not even the right technology set up.
The workshop went for two hours and involved a mix of trainer input, participant discussion, breakout rooms (a great feature in zoom), ending with concrete tips from both the trainers and participants, along with a copy of all slides and whiteboard output sent to each participant as a follow up. Below I’ve summarised some of the tips we went through during our session.

Finding the balance of checking in on team members vs. checking up on them.
Depending on the experience and motivation levels of your team member, it is often very different for each individual. Situational leadership is of pivotal importance when working remotely. Ask yourself how much support your team member needs and ensure that they see you online – video calls are best, as often as necessary to stay on top of things. Set expectations together and agree upon them, along with timelines and agreed check in times to catch up and review where you are.

Understanding how trust works remotely.
The workshop touched on different types of trust. Deterrence based trust is based on fear of reprisal is the trust is in any way violated. Knowledge based trust works around predictability of behaviour based on the history of previous interactions, whereas identification-based trust exists around a mutual understanding of each other’s intentions and appreciation of the other person’s wants and desires. Identification based trust among remote teams is the cornerstone of being both a successful leader and manager– when trust is at win-win levels, motivation, high performance and excellent results are at their best.

Remote ways to Communicate. In the current situation, the word ‘isolation’ is coming up a lot .Currently, remote teams are not made up of individuals who have asked to work at home, or team members who spend one or two days in their home office before returning to work. This has been thrown at people, and not only are they working from home, they are also faced with social distancing and there is a high sense of loneliness and insecurity in the air. As a manager, you need to define deadlines and deliverables within the team and to agree on the results you all need to achieve. As a leader, communication is about presence and understanding. You may need to reassure and connect with people even more than you have done previously.

Shared Breaks.
Planning online meet ups with your team during lunch breaks or a happy hour get together is a good way to keep up momentum. It helps hold the team together and strengthens relationship building. And it doesn’t have to be something that only you organise. Once you get the wheels in motion, team members can start having their own social meet ups in an online remote setting. Just remember to remind them which social media tools they can legally use when organising work meet ups, as data privacy can be an issue.
This workshop addressed the topic of managing and leading teams, and was the first in a series of two hour online workshops built around leading, communicating and working remotely.

Other Online Workshops Include:

  • Presenting Online – Engage your Remote AudienceCommunication
  • Tips for Remote Teams
  • Time & Self Management Working Remotely
  • Motivation and Momentum in Remote Teams
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