The rise of remote work has significantly altered how we view leadership. With employees scattered across the country or even the world, leaders must find new ways to motivate, manage, and communicate with their teams.
Here, we’ll highlight some of the ways that leadership has changed in the age of remote work and provide tips and strategies for leaders who want to succeed in this new environment.
1. Accept and empathize with differences
Your team’s days and nights and cultural and social norms will alter if you are dispersed throughout several countries.
By providing amusing information about your separate cultures, such as how people celebrate holidays or what’s happening in your cities and towns, you can bridge that divide as the team leader.
Discuss random things like wedding attire and celebration-related practices. Talk about each individual society’s privileges and educational institutions. Food is another interesting topic.
As the leader, you could open a grocery flyer, for example, and show your team members images of different foods, and each person can say something about how it relates to their culture.
You will also get a chance to share more about Canada’s cuisine and help your employees relate to you better. This way, there is always a lot to share and discover from one.
These brief discussions go beyond your typically professional demeanors and help everyone understand the other person better.
2. Embrace technology
One of the most significant challenges that leaders face in the age of remote work is maintaining a sense of connection and engagement with their teams.
When everyone is working in the same office, it’s easy to have impromptu conversations, check-ins, and informal feedback sessions. But when people are working from home, these interactions are much more difficult to come by.
As a result, leaders need to be much more intentional about creating opportunities for connection and collaboration.
One strategy for doing this is to embrace technology.
A wide range of tools and platforms are available that can help teams stay connected, from video conferencing software like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to project management tools like Trello, Miro, and Asana.
By using these tools effectively, leaders can create virtual meeting spaces, facilitate collaboration, and even foster a sense of community among team members who may never have met in person.
3. Focus on communication
Another strategy for maintaining connection is to focus on communication. When every employee works remotely, it’s more important than ever to keep people informed about what’s happening.
This can mean setting up regular check-ins, sending out frequent status updates, or simply making time to chat with team members one-on-one.
Leaders can build trust and keep everyone aligned around common goals by staying in close communication with their teams.
4. Establish clear communication around work processes
In addition to maintaining connection, leaders in the age of remote work need to be especially mindful of managing their teams effectively.
When all the staff is working from home or from another office internationally, it’s easy for people to feel disconnected from their work or unsure of what they should be doing.
To combat this, leaders need to be clear about expectations, set realistic goals and deadlines, and provide regular feedback and support.
Creating clear processes and systems is one way to do this. In order to make sure that everyone is on the same page, leaders can aid by developing a set of rules or protocols for how work should be done.
This might mean setting up regular check-ins, establishing clear roles and responsibilities, or providing training and support to help team members develop the skills they need to be successful.
5. Pursue the outcome, not the inputs
Another strategy for effective management is to focus on outcomes rather than inputs. In a traditional office setting, equating time spent at a desk with productivity is easy.
But this assumption no longer holds true in the age of remote work. Instead, leaders need to focus on results. By setting clear goals and tracking progress towards those goals, leaders can help their teams stay focused and motivated, regardless of where they are working from.
Of course, managing a remote team effectively also requires a certain level of trust. When leaders can’t see what their team members are doing, micromanaging or hovering over their work can be tempting.
But this approach is rarely effective. Instead, leaders need to trust their team members to get the job done and provide the support and resources they need to do it well.
6. Make it less about work
Even in traditional workplace settings, networking might be challenging for some people. Connecting with other team members can be a huge challenge, especially for new hires joining a remote team.
Executives should actively assist new hires in creating networks of contacts. Moreover, we’d suggest creating non-work-related channels for your employees to communicate on.
Building a sense of togetherness among the team can be greatly aided by encouraging virtual coffees and a few gaming sessions. For instance, starting meetings with icebreakers enables team members to get to know one another’s personalities, interests, and hobbies.
Additionally, knowing the goals and motivations of the team members enables leaders to provide the ideal opportunity for new staff to network with individuals across the organization.
In fact, some leaders have discovered that the new team members benefit more from the leader’s role as a “connection” than as a “mentor.”
7. Prioritize your wellbeing
Finally, leaders in the age of remote work need to be especially mindful of their own well-being. It’s easy to blur the lines between work and personal life when working from home, and many people discover that they end up putting in longer hours or feeling overly reliant on their jobs.
To avoid burnout, leaders need to be intentional about taking breaks, disconnecting from work at the end of the day, and prioritizing their own mental and physical health.
In conclusion, the age of remote work has brought about many changes to the way we think about leadership.
In order to be successful in this new remote work era, leaders need to embrace technology to communicate effectively, let all employees know what is required of them, and set clear expectations of processes and systems.
It is also important to focus more on the outcomes than the inputs the employees use.
Lastly, it is also crucial for leaders to be mindful of hours of work and rest so as to avoid burnout, which easily creeps in for people working from home.