The concept of work-from-home isn’t new, but under Covid-19 this mode of work has quickly become the norm. The pandemic restricted everybody’s mobility, and adjustments had to be made in order to compensate for the physical limitations.
As Covid-19 numbers decrease, however, studies show that the increasing benefits that many have experienced with remote work — such as flexibility and productivity — have given birth to a new culture. More companies continue to consider making permanent work-from-home arrangements to reduce office space. An example of this is Morgan Stanley. Around 90% of their employees worked from home during the pandemic, leading to Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman noting that the company now needed much less real estate. Companies, like Morgan Stanley, are now trying to strike a balance to minimize the risks and maximize the gains.
Finding balance can be tricky, however, which is why a remote team requires strong leadership. Top executive leadership plays several roles in an organization, including effectively delegating tasks, as well as managing relations among different individuals (which is why the median wage is far above the average at $103,950). Executive leadership is particularly important for designing programs and setting standards so that organizations can meet their goals.
Improving remote leadership capabilities means executive leadership can do their work. Fortunately, this can be easily developed with consistent practice. Read on to know the tips for effective leadership in a remote team.
Keep track of your goals
It is easy to feel disconnected when your work environment all lies within a screen. This is where designing programs and setting standards come into play. It helps to establish clear and measurable goals with quantitative objectives, key performance indicators (KPIs), and a set schedule. This sets a direction for the team.
Above all, these goals must be consultative with your team members. Business development goals usually go through multiple phases before completion, so keeping track of everyone’s progress allows leaders to adjust accordingly.
Pay attention to your team
Transparency and consultation are key to ensuring that your goals are realistic. This is where checking in with your team and remembering their needs come in. Our previous post discusses the different ways leaders can engage their remote team, which surprisingly means strategies like fewer calls – Zoom fatigue is real, after all.
The important thing to remember throughout is that numbers and performance are important, but teams are composed of individuals. Only a healthy, collaborative team can produce great outcomes in the long run.
Trust in your team
The fear of a dip in effort and production can be overpowering. Some leaders may find themselves micromanaging their teammates to compensate for the distance.
However, it is actually the lack of trust that causes a breakdown around employee autonomy, perceived competence, and respect, and that ultimately affects productivity in your team. Remember that your goals are their goals as well, so what’s left is to guide and lead the way.
Focusing on improving communication skills
To build trust, open channels to discuss company goals aren’t enough. Leaders need to cultivate a workplace culture of clear communication. Sharing every little detail about your life isn’t necessary — a level of independence in working is essential after all — but transparency allows your team to understand one another and fosters empathy. It also encourages asking questions, which minimizes the chance for misunderstandings.
The physical distance of remote work is hard enough to manage without knowing what your members are going through in their homes. Having a clearer picture of this allows you to adjust accordingly and provide a safety net for the entire team.
To lead is to be responsible for others, and this weight is never easy. However, under effective and collaborative remote leadership, not only will you be watching out for your team, but they’ll also be watching out for you.
This post was written by Jan Evans.