9 Tips on Leading Your Team Remotely

Are you leading your team from home? Many people are during this period of uncertainty. While telecommuting is not something new, many companies have recently switched back to call workers back to the office, including IBM, a company that pioneered the trend back in 1980’s.

Theoretically, remote work makes a lot of sense. It cuts down the second highest expense in business and it gives your team more flexibility. In practice, it actually has a lot of challenges, collaboration, communication, team building, accountability, etc.

Article by deliveringhappiness

Here are a few tips on how you can effectively lead your team remotely.

1. Communicate effectively

There is really no over-communication if you are working remotely with your team. Do not assume that communicating once in one platform gets the job done. Create agreements on every communication! For example, if an assignment needs to be done by next Wednesday, state why that task is important, ask if additional resources are needed and ask for a written response in agreement to create accountability. Understand everyone on your team’s work style and preferred way of communication. Some people might prefer checking emails just twice a day, while some would like instant email response but prefer phone calls. Knowing this ahead of time could build trust quicker.

What are your team’s communication styles?

2. Create and document processes

This is important even if you are not leading remotely. Having the processes somewhere and actually using that process allows your team to know what to do next without having to get directions from you. Create flow charts and use tools like RACI charts to let your team members know how to elevate issues and bring up ideas. Make sure the steps within your processes are actually value-added. This might take some time to create at the beginning but will create higher productivity for your team.

What processes would you need to create now that you are working remotely?

3. Delegate by assigning appropriate tasks

Assigning tasks that are appropriate for the right team members could create higher engagement. Create a sense of control to allow your team members have freedom on leading a project. Oftentimes we don’t have a choice, but if you are thinking about assigning this task to a particular team member, consider the following questions:

Will they be challenged and empowered, or will they be stressed out or confused?


4. Measure performance

Once tasks are assigned, of course you’ve got to follow-up!  Measure performance. Make sure you have leads for projects and actions for tasks. Know the KPIs that you should measure: both process driven KPI and outcome-based KPI. Keeping process and outcome KPI will allow you to see what activities create what types of outcome. This could create a great sense of progress for them. Who cares how long it took your team to finish a project as long as it’s AMAZING?

What performance metrics will you put in place?

5. Help your team feel a sense of belonging

One of the negatives of working from home is the lack of community. At DH, we love having the freedom to work whenever and wherever we want, but we also love seeing each other. We have created a strong virtual supportive community and our own rituals to show love for each other. Just an example, we create virtual birthday cards using love-notes to write to our team. This would create a sense of connectedness for your team.

How can you help your team feel more connected?

6. Leverage technology

While we have very effective communication and project management (Email, zoom, Trello, Asana, Chat, Basecamp and your internal systems), they could further scatter your communication. Use video conferencing often. Make sure you have an agreed communication strategy to determine what information should go into what platforms. Otherwise, different team would start using different platforms and this could create chaos and miscommunication.

What platforms are you using for project management? Sales? Operations? Marketing?

7. Ask for feedback

Listen more, ask more questions, and understand your team. As we say at Delivering Happiness, “We want to hear the good, the bad, and we LOVE the ugly.” As a leader, it’s up to you to set a great work environment for your team. See what’s working and what’s not working from your team. Evaluate and improve!

How can you get your team to give you more feedback more often?

8. Show CARE and build TRUST

If you can’t get any of the above right 100%, but you can show your team that you truly care for them and your team trusts you, you will have a much easier time transitioning to working remotely. They would be much more forgiving for any mistake that you make, because we are all in this together!

What’s one thing you can do for your team to show that you care about their well being?

9. Focus on your culture

To sum it all up, start with culture. If you can align your team’s values and goals to your company’s values and vision, working remotely will turn out to be much more effective.

What are your values? What’s your and your company’s higher purpose? What difference are you trying to make in the world?