Working in a remote location, or really away from the main office, is more common than ever. While this seems to be the new way of getting work done, there are also a lot of myths about what it takes to manage remote employees and remote teams. This week, we talk about the ways there are differences and most of the ways in which there aren’t any at all. Leadership is leadership. That’s the good news.
- I think we want to reframe this right from the top
- We don’t ‘manage’ anyone; but we do expect results
- We need to let go of some myths, one being that managing remote employees requires a completely different skill set AND that working remotely means less connection
- The skills of leadership and building connection still apply
- Beyond the obvious of setting expectations…here are some possibly easy things to overlook
- One nuance, you can’t just “pop in” to someone’s office
- This means that you probably should set a standardized time to meet each week.
- For some reason, when teams or individuals are not in the same office we just think, “well, they aren’t physically here so we can’t meet.
- In this day and age, nothing could be further from the truth
- There are other technologies that can make the “pop in” feel like one exists
- IM applications like Slack for example; this supports some of the “impromptu” office dynamics we’ve come to love and also deplore.
- Having a standard time to meet means that you won’t lose track of each other as easily and keeps things on track for expectations and co-created accountability
- It also builds trust.
- Make time in your meetings to get to know each other personally too; not just business. If you don’t see this person every day, it can be tricky to ask, “how was your weekend?” when it is Thursday.
- Share appreciation and praise just as often as you would with anyone else; use positive emotion.
- Ideally a 5:1 ratio.
- Lastly, know when it is time to bring people together face-to-face if this is at all a possibility.
- Maybe it is that one annual retreat or at the holiday party
- If you’re not renting space for this person in an office, you can use that money to take them out to dinner.
- Ask your people who are working remote how they like to feel included on the team; what matters to them?
Conclusion: Now What? The Invitations to Mastery
- Schedule regular meetings and check-ins
- Get personal
- Create moments for spontaneous connection and leverage technology