How Founders Can Support Their Remote Teams By Supporting Themselves
It’s not easy for founders that are managing rapid change and trying to manage remote team members.
They have a team of people around them, relying on them to ensure they’re bringing the company in the right direction.
They are wearing many hats.
Trying to sell.
Trying to network.
Trying to get investors on board.
Not to mention, navigating the psychological battlefield that can come with leadership in those early stages, especially when building a distributed team.
When founders at these stages approach me, they’re usually experiencing one or many of the following pain points:
- They find themselves having to solve all of the problems. They’ve stepped into the firefighter role and become increasingly frustrated at their remote team’s lack of critical thinking. A culture of blame can start to creep in here.
- They are burnout. Usually because of point 1 but often because they’re doing so much work to compensate for what’s lacking on their remote team.
- They’re overwhelmed by miscommunications between team members and are learning leadership on the fly- which is taking their energy away from the most important things- i.e getting investors.
- In some cases when the cycle of point 1,2 and 3 have continued for long enough. They’re struggling to retain remote employees
Unfortunately, there is no blanket solution to any of these pain points and let me tell you why.
THE ROOT CAUSES FOR THESE ISSUES DEPEND ON OUR BELIEFS, EXPERIENCES AND PERCEPTIONS.
We establish those beliefs, experiences and perceptions from the moment we are born.
From our childhood.
Our first job.
Our first bad job.
We are all telling ourselves a different story- this is our beliefs.
As Henry Forde said, whether you think you can or you cannot, you’re right.
One of the most common limiting beliefs I see holding founders back from success is that they are afraid to let go of control.
This can show up in the form of not delegating to their remote teams and even micromanaging.
For the founders I work with, it’s about holding up those beliefs that they’ve carried around for so long and asking themselves- is it true? If it’s true, what’s the evidence to support it is true?
Is it true that nobody will do this work as well as you will?
Is it true that your team won’t see it the way that you do?
Is it true that you have to solve every problem?
Is it true that you have to be involved in everything that’s happening within the business?
It’s not only about reality testing these beliefs of course. Some of the evidence we collect to test these beliefs might highlight that there are some performance or engagement issues within the team.
But here’s the secret.
Are you ready?
Instead of trying to change everyone else on your team, start by changing yourself.
Yep, it’s not an easy pill to swallow but it’s 99% more effective and less time-consuming than trying to change a team of 20 people.
Trying to change anyone won’t work.
So, when we face that fact, we’re presented with an opportunity.
You guessed it, develop ourselves!
HOW TO DEVELOP YOURSELF AS A FOUNDER OF A DISTRIBUTED TEAM
- Consider expectations before any task is handed over what does finished look like? Is this the best person to get this task to what finished looks like? Or do I or someone else need to take it at a certain stage and bring it to the finish line? If so, what areas specifically of the task do I need to delegate and how should I ask for an update when it’s done?
- Consider one major value or concept that’s important for everyone to take on board when doing anything in their work. You might choose to call this a value- whatever works for you. This should be activated as a way to hold everyone accountable to the most important concept of WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.
- Bringing coaching into the problem-solving process. You want to remove independence from this process and involve people. Start by asking bigger open-ended questions to get your team thinking about solutions and guide them to seeing the problem in a new light. This mindset will start to shift responsibility and ownership and dilute it out amongst the team members.
- You could also book a call with me and learn more about the ways I support Founders in becoming Leaders.
Here’s what one client has to say about working with me:
BEING A CEO OF A REMOTE TEAM IS DANGEROUS, IN THAT IT’S HARD TO FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE NOT DOING RIGHT – OR WHERE OPPORTUNITIES LIE. WORKING WITH SHAUNA AND OPERATE REMOTE IS A MUCH BETTER FORM OF ‘ACCIDENT INSURANCE’ – IT’S ALREADY SAVED ME FROM MYSELF SEVERAL TIMES!
Nigel, CEO Marketing OG
It’s dangerous out there, make sure you have the best accident insurance a.k.a a coach that gets you. (me!)
Sending you all the best, Shauna