Remote Team Management Techniques for Busy Leaders
Remote working and team management is becoming increasingly common in the modern workplace. With our near constant connection to the digital world, it’s easier than ever before for leaders to work while they’re out of the office or even run entire companies digitally. According to statistics from Global Workplace Analytics, 20-25% of the U.S. workforce telecommutes occasionally or permanently, on a regular basis.
Whether your business is run entirely remotely by a global professional team, or you’re a busy leader who often spends more time on business trips than in the office, juggling your professional responsibilities while travelling can be a challenge. This is especially true for C-Suite executives and other organizational leaders with employees and colleagues who count on their expertise and advice while carrying out daily tasks, optimizing strategies, and keeping business progressing forward.
Although keeping in touch with your team on a remote basis may be difficult at times, there are ways that busy leaders can overcome communication hurdles with a few simple habits and tactics. Use the following tips and tricks to stay engaged while you’re travelling extensively to keep your team and business thriving.
1. Create a Culture of Trust
Without trust, working remotely isn’t sustainable. As a leader, it’s up to you to delegate tasks to employees that you trust to get the job done, as they cannot necessarily “check-in” regularly for updates and management.
It’s vital to create a culture of trust to maintain high engagement throughout your team. High engagement has been described as a strong connection with professional colleagues and is often found in employees who find meaning in what they do on a daily basis. However, it is possible for excellent leaders to cultivate this culture of trust, even when you’re out of the office regularly. Try implementing the following strategies to increase trust and engagement:
- Give team members autonomy in their tasks and positions. When an employee feels free to make well-informed decisions, they are more likely to be engaged in their position on the team.
- Build your professional relationships. Employees and leaders should feel comfortable with one another and be fully invested in both the team and company. Take time to connect with your employees regularly and make sure that they know you care about their well-being.
- Create open lines of communication. When communication strategies are clear-cut and accessible to an entire team, people feel empowered to reach out for assistance and advice on an as-needed basis.
2. Make Time to Connect With Your Team
Connection is the heart of a business, between an organization and their clients, and more importantly, between team members who keep the business running. As a leader who must remotely manage a team on occasion or permanently, it’s also up to you to reach out to your employees regularly.
Make this regular time for connection and collaboration a part of your daily schedule. Whether you prefer putting reminders in your calendar for video conferences or scheduling one-on-one meetings with individual team members, you’ll have a better professional relationship when all parties feel connected to overarching organizational goals and each other.
These check-in’s don’t have to be lengthy. In fact, many leaders find it helpful to schedule these calls during commutes or for days with an anticipated low workload. However, deliberately attempt to make these video or phone calls rather than digital messaging. Hearing a voice or seeing a face allows for more genuine discussions, decreasing the chance of misunderstandings that can cost valuable time and effort.
3. Find the Communication Tools that Work for Your Team
Remote team management wouldn’t be possible without communication tools, and streamlined processes that help all team members use them correctly. Communication isn’t just a facet of team management, but rather, it’s a strategic effort to use time efficiently and optimize outcomes.
Software developers have reacted to the increase in remote working in past years and created future-forward online platforms to help busy leaders manage their teams remotely. Some best-in-class examples of project management systems and communication channels include:
Basecamp is an incredible project management and team communication software that allows users to monitor a wide array of necessary business functions, such as documents, scheduling, tasks, and important discussions. This easy to use platform creates an online environment for leaders to organize and navigate through projects, making sure that work is delegated to the right team members at the right time.
Google Drive is a secure cloud file backup and storage system that can be accessed through a user’s Google account. Rather than sending large files over email and having each team member organize the project in their own way, sharing files on Google Drive allows for a collaborative and accessible process.
Google Docs is another great way for leaders to delegate tasks and collaborate on projects online. With the ability to comment, make suggestions, and edit with more than one user in the document, Google Docs are handy for collaborative calls and meetings to organize thoughts and work through projects with ease.
Although we suggest that remote communication with employees should ideally take place over a voice or video call, there are times where this type of communication is not an option for busy leaders. Slack is the perfect alternative for remote team management and communication.
Slack allows teams to chat informally in an online space that almost feels like a digital office. Whether you need to have a quick one-on-one chat with a team member or a team-wide discussion to carry out a specific task, Slack creates an easy route to connection and open communication, even while you’re out of the office for extended periods.
Occasionally, busy leaders find the need to hold formal meetings with clients, employees, and colleagues. When this is the case, you require a professional meeting platform. GoToMeeting is used by leaders worldwide because of its valuable features and easy to use interface.
If you’re a busy leader looking to optimize your processes and engaged with your employees while you manage business remotely, use the above techniques to keep your best-in-class team moving forward.
At East Tenth Group, a quadrant of our Balanced Leadership Framework is managing others. Download our complimentary Managing Others ebook to take a deep dive into leading through change and creating environments where your employees can thrive. For our latest actionable insights, subscribe to our newsletter and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.