How Does Self-awareness Make For Great First Time Remote Team Leaders?

Today, I want to offer you some insights and considerations on how we can support first-time managers that are leading remote teams.

First-time managers are usually in for a shock.

Especially when working remotely and leading a remote team.

The challenges of managing people remotely are not by any means simple.

While there are lots of great resources available on leadership, there is no step-by-step process to follow to ensure leadership success.

In fact, there may be too many resources out there, which confuses first-time leaders and promotes the belief that in order to be a successful leader, the answer is outside of them.

But what’s often the case is the answer starts within them.

To be a great leader, we must first seek to understand and learn about ourselves.


If we aren’t truly aware of how we speak, how we nonverbally communicate, what our biases are and what our values are then we’ll never be able to understand how we show up in the world. How are we perceived by other people?

If we don’t understand that first, we can continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.

First-time managers, especially in a remote environment, need resources, time and opportunities to uncover more information about themselves, and thus, develop deeper levels of self-awareness.


Because how many leaders have you witnessed failing because they didn’t understand how their words/behaviour/actions were impacting their remote team members?

Self-awareness is what helps you understand others and how they see you, your temperament, and the way you respond to them in real-time. When new managers see themselves clearly, they make better decisions, build more meaningful relationships, and lead others more effectively.

And recent studies show that self-awareness is “the strongest predictor of overall success.” For example, a team at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations studied 72 senior executives at companies with revenues between $50 million to $5 billion. They found that it’s not the “tough guys” who finish first. Instead, leaders with the high self-awareness that forms the basis for strong interpersonal skills actually deliver better financial results.


Many companies offer personality profiles and assessments such as the enneagram and emotional intelligence assessments which is the starting point for developing this deeper level of awareness.

I often see companies investing so much money into personality profiles, to review them once and then put them away in an online folder to never be seen again.

Instead, I recommend leveraging this data to facilitate meaningful coaching conversations on both an individual and team level.

For example, ask your management team to set 3 meaningful goals for their leadership development based on their personality assessment results.

The momentum should continue in their 1-1 conversations with their managers.

For example, if they’ve identified that they need to increase remote interpersonal relationships when problem-solving (this can be identified in an emotional intelligence assessment) they might set a goal to facilitate a team discussion each month simply to problem solve together as a team.

In coaching these first-time managers, you might ask ‘What skills are important for you to develop so that these team discussions are valuable for everyone on the team?’

 You might hear answers such as:

Well, I need to ask the team what they think and listen to their ideas

I’ll save my own ideas until the end of the conversation so that I can listen to what my team have to say

I’ll ask more open-ended questions

I’ll be open to everyone’s ideas and create a safe environment for them to share.


Through coaching your managers to put their new learnings into practice for everyday situations, you’re activating a deeper level of self-awareness.

The impact of being accountable and actively improving relationships with remote team members will benefit everyone.

They’ve not only identified their blind spots, but they’ve also created the next steps to move through them in an authentic way that will benefit everyone.

This is how we move from the ‘knowing’ into the ‘doing’.

They might have read about this in their leadership 101 books or listened to it on a recent podcast, but putting it into practice is what really makes the difference.

You might choose to ask them a question on this too.

By involving more of your team in your problem-solving process, what will that give you? What will that give the team?

It will help me feel less stressed by trying to solve everything myself and it will help the team feel more engaged because they feel like their ideas and suggestions really matter.

To support first-time managers, we need to provide them with coaching experiences that empower them to see themselves and situations differently.

We need to guide them on how to move from the knowledge into the doing and that essentially is what coaching is all about. 

When we empower them to do that, we empower them to coach their own teams.

The coaching cycle continues.

A Fortune 500 company conducted research on the ROI of Executive Coaching and found it produced a 788% ROI. They uncovered that overall productivity and employee satisfaction were the most positively impacted areas (which in turn has an impact on customer satisfaction, employee engagement, quality, annualized financial results, and more.)

And if you’re interested in generating results like this by supporting your leadership team, why not get in touch with us [email protected]

— Shauna