Do Remote Team Leaders Need Different Skills?
Having an effective leader is always a crucial part of a team’s success. However, leadership is even more important during times of crisis. At this point of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders’ decisions, no matter how big or small, can make a difference for a company’s survival.
Since the pandemic began, our way of life has changed drastically—which makes it even more difficult for leaders to navigate. Luckily, today’s technology makes remote work possible. Even with the right technology though, leaders won’t be successful during these times if they fail to recognize that remote teams work differently.
To be an effective remote leader, you not only need to maintain all the essential leadership qualities, but also develop different methods for implementing them. Remember that your employees need support and guidance now more than ever, and it’s your responsibility to give it to them and make sure they feel like part of a team.
So how can you be an effective leader as your employees work from home?
Here are 4 skills you need to have to be a successful remote team leader:
Trust Your Employees
The most important thing to do when leading a remote team is to trust your employees to get their work done and make their own decisions. Of course, you need to have clear channels of communication with your employees, but the truth is you can’t monitor them as much as you did in the office when they work from home. As a leader, you need to encourage your employees to be more independent and help them learn how to make the right decisions.
With that said, don’t dismiss monitoring your team entirely. What you need to do is to learn how to monitor your employees ethically and efficiently. To help you do this, use apps like HiveDesk, GoogleSheets, Timely, Roadmap, Tick, and Time Doctor.
Be Open and Proactive with Communication
It’s been proven that employees can be more productive when they work from home. However, there are also many studies that show how many problems remote work can cause. The majority of them have to do with communication and organizational issues. Therefore, as a remote leader, you need to anticipate these issues and train your team on how to overcome them.
To start, you need to be open for communication during work hours. You should share your calendar with your employees so that your team can always access it. Additionally, you should have active messenger accounts that your employees can contact you (and each other) easily.
In addition, you also need to be proactive with communication. Since a human mind requires regular socializing to maintain mental health, you should constantly keep your employees engaged—especially during these challenging times.
You can do this by scheduling regular video conferences using Zoom or similar solutions. During these meetings, you should dedicate some time to socialize with your employees instead of just talking about work. To check in with your employees, you should set up weekly 1:1 meetings to discuss their overall progress and performance. Depending on how they’re doing, you might need to develop individual strategies to support them and improve their productivity.
Be Self Organized and Teach the Skill
In order to succeed in the remote world, leaders need to have effective time management and organizational skills. Not only do you need to embody these skills, but you also need to be able to teach them to your employees, too.
Therefore, start by researching productivity tips for working from home. Then schedule a meeting to share your findings with your team. Offer them suggestions but also ask them for ideas in return and learn what they do to stay focused. This will not only help with team bonding, but can also help your employees feel more accountable.
In fact, if some members of your team are struggling to stay focused as they work remotely, consider creating an accountability group. This can help employees who are struggling and improve team productivity as a whole.
Support Your Team’s Physical and Mental Health
Finally, remember that successful leaders put people before profit. Therefore, you should not only make sure that your employees stay productive, but also make sure that they’re staying healthy, both mentally and physically.
Socializing beyond work-related meetings will help with mental health maintenance. To lift their spirits and keep them engaged, consider providing your employees with some digital entertainment, like virtual parties and game nights.
As for physical health, consider promoting meditation and physical exercise. Offering online services can be a great help, such as yoga or online workout classes. Companies are also starting to offer COVID-19 testing or support that can help strengthen employees’ immune systems.
Even though many employees feel productive as they work remotely, some may be feeling burned out. To be the best leader you can be and help your employees avoid work-from-home burnout, check out our recent blog post.
To read more from Agatha Singer, check out her blog!
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