Are You Suddenly Leading a Remote Team for the First Time?

Exceptional leadership is all about the people – giving them the confidence to do their best, setting direction on the way forward, and bringing clarity to goals.

Every sector is managing disruption to some degree and having clarity from leaders is critical to implementing change. I recently talked with several leaders, discussing how to adapt one’s style when suddenly everyone has become a remote worker!

Remote Leadership Tips

Recently, video conferencing has made work more personal. We are all sharing what goes on inside our homes, with children, pets, and partners running around in the background whilst we do our utmost to be professional and calm.

There is a community and trust that comes with people spending time together. To maintain this spirit remotely, leaders should coach their team on new ways of working:

  • First recreate an environment that allows people to be comfortable by asking questions to bridge gaps in distance. Perhaps ask to see their pet and say hello to the family members – you would do the same if invited into their home!
  • Communication – create a pattern for daily touch-points to understand problems/opportunities and where your input is needed
  • Be inclusive – give everyone the opportunity to talk and contribute
  • Productivity – focus on the outcomes of shared goals, remove friction
  • Training – help those who are rapidly learning how to use new tools, they will remember your patience and support
  • Engagement – create space to follow-up with someone on one time, check-in with people and ask how they are coping

Your team will naturally have concerns through periods of change; they may experience anxiety and uncertainty about their value in the organisation. Be open with them, explain how they can help the organisation through this period, bring clarity and confidence as to what they can Start, Stop, and Continue doing.

Above all be genuine and be human, this is what is needed most.

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In my next post I continue the theme of remote leadership, with a view from the Education and Training Sector. Two Years and Two Days shares leaders reflections on being faced with urgent demand for technology solutions.

Tom O'Connor

Over 30 years’ hands-on experience of leading technology and business teams across the Public Sector, Consulting, and both the Finance and Manufacturing sectors. IDEX Corporation provides highly engineered solutions in niche markets for a diverse global customer set. IDEX is headquartered in Chicago, floated on the NYSE, $12bn Market Cap, is highly acquisitive with 47 business units across the world leading in numerous product markets. I was accountable for technology in 24 business units, with 4,000 employees contributing $300m EBITDA. A matrix technology team of 50 FTE supported a global framework of common platforms and infrastructure across a decentralised business model.

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