The massive shift to a remote work environment in the U.S. began more than two years ago and it shows no signs of stopping. Telework brings with it some unique challenges that require specialized tactics and skilled intervention. That’s why it’s so important to assess your management prowess and sharpen your skills to address these special circumstances.
In this article, we’ve complied some tips to help you deliver exceptional leadership in the remote work environment.
1. Tap into the power of effective communication.
Trust is essential to a positive corporate culture. Team members are more apt to align around a common purpose when they feel safe and secure. The foundation of trust is strong communication, but in the virtual setting, it can suffer. Nuance and context are often stripped away, giving way to confusion and mistrust. Overcome this obstacle by tapping into each person’s needs and delivering individualized attention. Ask team members how they prefer to communicate, what support they need, and how you can best work together in the virtual environment. Be an active listener and resist the temptation of being solely task-focused. Get to know your team members individually. Personal connections make people feel more invested in their work and valued as team members.
2. Focus on career development and progression.
Remote workers sometimes perceive that their career is being derailed. They may wonder if employees who commute into the office are better positioned for raises and promotion opportunities. By having regular conversations about career advancement with your remote staff members, you can build a more connected and engaged workforce. Instead of waiting until their annual review, have routine one-on-one conversations on this topic. Get to know each person’s career aspirations, develop plans to address them, and regularly assess their progress.
3. Give and accept feedback.
Employees need feedback to know how they’re doing. Otherwise, they’ll gauge themselves and assume they’re doing a superb job when they’re falling short, or conversely, think they’re failing miserably when they’re actually performing well. Remote work environments often wreak havoc on feedback because it can’t be offered as easily as in-person. Don’t leave your virtual team members in the dark or concerned about their performance. Actively engage in constructive feedback, addressing any areas for improvement and praising accomplishments. Be specific, purposeful, and consistent. As a leader, it is just as important that you are able to receive feedback from your direct reports. Demonstrate your openness by actively seeking their comments, validating them, and incorporating remedial actions as appropriate. A feedback-friendly culture is essential to employee happiness and satisfaction in the remote environment.
4. Don’t micromanage.
Even in the best of situations, micromanagement is ineffective. It annoys workers, erodes trust, leads to burnout, and increases turnover. It can backfire in a big way by putting undue pressure on remote staff members, causing productivity to falter rather than increase. If your employees are communicating appropriately and are meeting their goals and deadlines, what’s not to trust? Regular one-on-one check-ins can help you avoid micromanaging while still enabling you to keep a pulse on your team. And while it’s important to track metrics and communicate with employees, remember that too much oversight can signal mistrust. Resist the urge to micromanage and instead, focus on how you can help your team members to be happier and more fulfilled on the job.
5. Keep them engaged.
Studies show that employee engagement is faltering, even among on-site teams. Those on virtual teams face unique challenges in this regard and may feel especially isolated and disengaged. Everyone wants a sense of belonging, so invest time in each individual to generate a highly engaged team. You should also strive to create a supportive, friendly culture. From the moment new employees come on board, your team culture should speak to them. For example, you might welcome newcomers on a video call and introduce them to the entire team to provide an immediate sense of inclusion. Mentoring, frequent check-ins, and other special onboarding efforts can help them feel involved. And don’t forget to have fun! Keeping everyone on your team engaged with fun activities like games, contests, and virtual and in-person get-togethers is always a great idea. Above all, be sure to demonstrate your appreciation and consistently recognize their efforts.
Whether remote or in-person, there is no one-size-fits-all style of management. Everyone is unique and will be motivated differently. The key lies in learning about each of your team members and using that information to inspire them. There are many ways to make the remote-work experience highly productive, engaging, and enjoyable for everyone.
Does your organization need guidance in creating a successful remote work environment or leadership support? The HR Team can help! Please reach out to our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.