Top 13 Tips For Effectively Leading And Managing Remote Teams

Chinmay Kulkarni

Before the epidemic, one-fourth of the people in the United States worked from home. Therefore, we can probably learn a few lessons from managers who have mastered these practices already.


Although it is generally a good idea to plan simple procedures and training for working remotely in advance. There is a possibility that this degree of preparation may not be possible during times of emergency.


Researchers have identified a number of things managers can do to boost the engagement and productivity of remote workers, even when they don't have a lot of time to prepare. These actions can be taken without consuming much effort by the manager. 


Check out the following pointers to learn the tips for effectively leading and managing the remote teams: 


Common Challenges


To get started, managers need to understand the issues that might make working remotely difficult. When workers who are otherwise engaged and productive in their work begin working remotely, they may have a high time working. This is particularly true if they are not well prepared or trained.


However, many businesses with good intentions have a large part of their workforce that is actively or passively disengaged. It is therefore important to consider how working remotely might affect their level of involvement, performance, and commitment.


Challenges inherent in remote work include:

  • Lack of face-to-face supervision
  • Lack of access to information
  • Social isolation
  • Distractions at home
  • Enhanced issues with already existing silosy


Here Are Some Ways That Managers Can Improve Their Ability to Lead Remote Teams:


Although working remotely may present several difficulties, there are several very simple and low-cost things that managers can do to make the transition smoother.


1. Include check-ins in your daily schedule.


This may seem like overkill, but it is a necessity for managers and teams that are just starting to work remotely. Effective remote managers, who are no longer able to meet face-to-face due to the nature of their positions, are increasingly using video conferences to replace the face-to-face communication that used to be sufficient.


2. Over-communicate


In addition to the standard daily check-ins, it is essential to communicate excessively when it comes to the tasks, obligations, and responsibilities of the team, as well as the results that are expected.


Even in the most routine office setting, a lack of communication may be a source of friction and difficulty. Communication, however, is of the utmost importance when workers are working remotely and may now be concentrating on new or different responsibilities and objectives.


3. Take advantage of technology


A great majority of us have already begun the digital transformation journey that will take most businesses several months or even years to transition. The vast majority of you probably use tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams regularly, which are easy to use platforms. 


The initial reaction was a bit awkward, but once it was fully accepted, it turned out to be an excellent way to promote engagement tactics. And simply for getting everything done.


4. Establish rules of engagement


By setting expectations for the frequency, method, and optimal time of communication with their teams, managers can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of remote work.


Managers may also improve employee morale. As an instance, you may say, "We utilize video for daily check-in meetings, but we use IM when anything important comes up." Also, set expectations for the best times of the day for team members to contact their manager (who may be you). 


As well as the best times of the day for the manager to reach each team member. In addition to this, ensure that other employees are exchanging information when appropriate.


5. Manage expectations


There has always been a need for this, but it has taken on a far greater significance in the current situation. Due to large course corrections, many companies and teams are now refocusing those same individuals on other roles, which affects their ability and motivation, and therefore, their performance and results.

Be clear about your expectations and make sure you ask for feedback to ensure congruence. Do not just assume that the team is aware of the areas in which they need to concentrate their efforts.


6. Focus on outcomes, not an activity


It is common knowledge that this is an effective strategy for boosting employee engagement and giving them more autonomy. In order to increase creativity and ownership, it is important to identify the objectives and intended outcomes, and then empower workers (who possess the knowledge and resources to accomplish them) to plan how to achieve them.


When people are geographically dispersed, micromanaging them becomes considerably more challenging. Oh, hold on, that's a positive development, right?


7. Define the purpose of those outcomes


This is where we put all the previous six pieces of advice together. When it comes to emotionally engaging personnel to the purpose, identifying the "WHY" is always the most important step.


A remote team's success depends on each member being aware of the overarching objective and their role in achieving it on a new battlefield, with new projects, new foes, and lots of unpredictable and complex variables.


8. Provide resources


There is no such thing as a brilliant military leader who leads their men into war without first providing them with adequate training and resources. You understand what I mean, even if what I just said isn't quite accurate. A great number of teams who work remotely need updated computers, improved Wi-Fi, and other modern technologies such as headphones and cameras. 

This may require reallocating already-tight finances to purchase essential equipment. Prepare the group to achieve its goals.


9. Remove barriers


It is important to note some of the new unforeseen obstacles that remote employees face, such as physical and emotional isolation, distractions at home pulling them in multiple directions, children engaged in home-schooling, and Amazon delivery ringing the doorbell every hour.


The responsibility of protecting the team so that they can focus on their current tasks comes with being in a position of authority. Take away as many roadblocks as you can.


10. Encourage remote social interactions


Virtual happy hours (though ideally not before 9 am), pizza parties, and recognition sessions are all sorts of events that a good number of you have heard of, and some of you have even participated in.


Research (which was generated in large part from the best practices of managers who have led remote teams for extended periods) demonstrates that this approach is effective. Although it may seem to be a little forced and inauthentic.


My advice is not to overdo it by mandating even more Zoom meetings but rather to carve out time during meetings that are already planned for talks and activities that are not relevant to the job that is being done. Then, every once in a while, organize that pizza party or happy hour!


11. Show flexibility


This is the main challenge. Each individual in a team comes from a unique background and has a distinct home environment. Some of them will already have families of their own. Many of them won't. Some people may have meetings in their own home offices, while others will do business from their bedrooms, bathrooms, or closets. Some maybe are at Starbucks. 


The important takeaway here is that a manager has to have a firm grasp on the specifics of each worker's situation. Expecting that it won't be flawless is, in and of itself, the new standard after 2020. 


But if we can survive global pandemics, social upheaval, economic downturns, fires, hurricanes, locusts, and meteors. Then managing distant teams seems like it should be a piece of cake, doesn't it?


12. Exhibit Empathy


Managers must identify stress, and listen to the fears and concerns of their workers. And also they should sympathize with the hardships that they are going through, especially in the context of a sudden move to remote work. 


According to the findings of studies on emotional intelligence and emotional contagion, workers turn to their managers for indications about how to respond to unexpected events or critical circumstances. In the Navy SEAL teams, we have a saying that goes, "Calm is infectious." But, what do you think? Panic is the same. Relax and take it easy.


13.  Mentor more than manage


The most effective managers don't just manage their employees. They also mentor and coach them. They are also aware of the not-so-subtle subtleties and the disparities that exist between the management and leadership disciplines. 


And just because we are in the middle of a period characterized by volatility, complexity, and uncertainty does not imply that we will cease all of our efforts to improve our teams – or even ourselves. Sometimes this calls for assistance from other sources, new endeavors, and making the time. So, get on it.


Final Thought


The aforementioned recommendations are all examples of things that are straightforward but not always easy to do. Each one calls for an investment of time, focus, and perseverance. But believe me when I say that your employees will appreciate it. It will be to the organization's advantage. In addition to this, you will be better prepared with the weapons and armor essential for navigating the choppy seas of transformation. Best of luck.


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