Remote Working

The Fundamentals of Leadership in Remote Teams

There are many definitions of leadership, but regardless of how we define it, there are fundamental aspects that are needed in order to be an effective leader. Furthermore, how do we define leadership in remote teams/ How does this differ from an office environment and what skills need to be sharpened in order to become a successful virtual leader? This is especially true when it comes to managing people in distributed workforces. Managing a team of people who come from different parts of the world will take a lot of flexibility, understanding, monitoring, and of course, communication.

Understanding Management
Management is the act of directing a group of people, usually an organisation, with the purpose of enabling the team to reach a common goal. It involves the implementation of strategies to better coordinate your team towards meeting your company’s goals.

How is Remote Team Management Different?
Whether you are managing a team remotely or in-office, your primary function will always be to help your team members perform to the best of their abilities and help them achieve their goals as part of your company. But when it comes to managing a remote team, there will always be some challenges that a manager will need to address:

Communicating effectively - What approach can you apply to maintain good communication channels with your team? What tools and communication methods are needed for certain conversations and tasks? For example, how do you deliver feedback in real-time to your team?

Maintaining company culture - What techniques, training and virtual activities can you conduct to foster a positive company culture in your remote team? Although your company will save money on office-costs and by being remote, it’s important to consider how you can invest in creating a solid team culture, regardless of their location.

Scheduling - How can you get the whole team together in real-time for virtual team meetings, training and brainstorming sessions?

Monitoring productivity - What online tools can you use to keep track of your team’s productivity? How can you transfer your performance management strategy across a remote team? Having clear KPIs and consistent 1-2-1 meetings should be regularly conducted to ensure progress.

Building trust - What strategies can you implement to build trust between you, your team members and their teammates? In remote teams, you need to hire for trust, and then set expectations as to how individuals can build upon that trust throughout their career.

Coaching - What techniques should you apply to hone the skills of each of your team members and transform them into productive members of the company?

The Responsibilities of a Remote Team Leader
As a team leader, you are expected to know the whereabouts of everyone in your team, even if you are handling them remotely. Your success is ultimately defined by your teams success and when they do well, you do well. Your primary functions include the following:

Help your team achieve great results with minimal efforts;
  • Remove any barriers to success for your team;
  • Increase process efficiency of the team members;
  • Provide tools necessary for improving your team’s performance; 
  • Encourage and support personal and societal growth of your team members.

What Nobody Tells You About Managing a Remote Team
Some people might think that managing a remote team will be an easy task. But the truth is the same issues that you encounter when managing teams in an office can still happen virtually, often, with added complexity. What you might not know about managing remote teams is that it will require the same, or sometimes higher, level of commitment and dedication with that of a manager in a physical office and requires proactive communication, the setting and creation of boundaries and expectations and a growth mindset.

Remote work will always have its own challenges that you will have to take on. There may be tools available to aid you in handling your tasks, but implementing a good strategy is key. Understanding your role and responsibilities, as well as knowing the differences in handling a team remotely will help you define your tactics better. If you want to get better guidance about your role as a team leader, book a free 30-minute consultation with me