Managing a team face to face can be challenging; throw remote working into the mix and it can become a whole lot more difficult…
Many managers say some of the main challenges they face with managing remote teams include:
- Keeping tabs on everyone in their team
- The lack of face to face communication
- Too many emails/phone calls
- A lack of trust – Are they doing what they say they’re doing?
These are all valid challenges; however, they can all be overcome. Here’s a few ideas:
- If your normal management style is a controlling one, change it. If you continue to virtually control your team, they will push back. You need to encourage autonomy and empowerment during this time and with that, will come mutual trust and respect.
- Where is she now? Stop being paranoid. Just because Janet hasn’t answered that email, or called you back, doesn’t mean she’s watching ‘Homes Under the Hammer’. Trust people to manage their own workload, at a time that suits them.
- Be more specific about what emails you need to see/don’t need to see, when a phone call would be preferable etc. By setting out a clear comms structure for you and your team members to work to, will help reduce unnecessary e-mail grenades and voicemail tennis!
- Adopt a Growth Mindset – use positive language when speaking with your team. Negativity is contagious. Before you know it, a normally vibrant Janet is now feeling exactly the same as you and this attitude will do nothing for motivation levels.
- Respect individuals’ feelings towards change – working remotely can be a massive change for some and it can take time to adjust. If anyone appears resistant, use open questioning to find out the root cause. Only then can you help to tackle the problem together.
The PU View
Ultimately, it’s about you being proactive and leading from the front. A little tweak of your management style coupled with you demonstrating total trust in your team will go a long way in helping your team to be more self-confident, empowered and productive. It’s also important to work with your team when making decisions. Involve them as much as possible. We guarantee, you will reap the rewards in the long run.
Who doesn’t love a good TED Talk? Here is a selection of the best clips that focus on remote working.