How Do You Lead a Remote Team?

7 Tips for Managing a Remote Team

Leading remote teams can be tricky. Your team will not have their manager in the same room with them to provide guidance and keep employees accountable. As a manager, you’ll need to ensure that your team is motivated and dedicated, and that they can manage their workload effectively.

This article provides tips on how to lead a remote team so that the team can flourish and deliver the many benefits of working remotely, both for your organization and its remote employees.

Tip #1: Understand the challenges

Remaining engaged and focused can be challenging for remote employees. When leading remote and virtual teams, you should be wary of these challenges, and how they can affect performance. You’ll need to tackle hurdles such as the lack of in-person supervision, poor access to information, the different nature of distractions at home, and the social isolation that can be so damaging to mental health.

Tip #2: Establish clear expectations

When managing digital teams, you must set clear expectations, and these should be based on individual employees’ abilities and capabilities. Discuss these expectations with the employee, so that they understand what is expected and how their contribution makes a difference.

Tip #3: Focus on results, not activity

Using your knowledge of your team, focus on the results that each member is achieving. Working from home should provide benefits to team members, too. These include being able to structure their day to improve work/life balance - this won’t happen if you are measuring output by time sat at a desk.

Tip #4: Communicate early and often

Communication is key to effective remote team management. When leading a remote team, it is crucial. Your team cannot grab a few seconds with you as they wish, to clarify instructions or to offer ideas. Therefore, it is the manager’s responsibility to communicate early and often, to ask questions to qualify understanding, and to allow team members to raise issues and concerns. Team meetings and daily check-ins should be on each manager’s daily to-do list.

Tip #5: Use technology effectively

Technology can help you and your team to collaborate more effectively and be more productive. The right technology can help you move projects forward and work more closely. You’ll need to choose the right tools to accomplish your goals, but you must also ensure that your team understands how to use these tools correctly. This includes setting policies, practices, and protocols, as well as discussing data privacy and ensuring team members are serious about cybersecurity.

Tip #6: Manage employees’ expectations of their manager

It is important to set clear expectations of your management style with your employees. The more you align their expectations with the way that you work, the easier it will be to manage them. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective is by understanding how leadership styles apply to managing remotely. This will make it easier for you to set expectations that are aligned with your leadership.

Tip #7: Don’t manage, mentor 

It’s critical for leaders of remote teams to focus on intrinsic motivation. They need to be able to give work that helps develop their employees in areas that they enjoy, as well as provide challenging tasks that inspire. Managers also need to take a coaching mentality to lead remote workers, to guide rather than instruct, and to inspire autonomous decision-making in a culture of innovation and creation.

Leadership is crucial

Whether your team is in the office or remote, leadership is a crucial factor for business outcomes. The tips we have given here will help your managers to lead their remote teams more effectively, especially in the current environment that is evolving so rapidly in the face of the developing covid pandemic.

For more insight into the best remote leadership and communication practices, visit our communication shorts.

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