In this blog we'll share the top issues we're seeing around Leading Remote Teams and a few recommendations you can implement right now to better lead your team virtually.
Given the current world situation regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) companies around the Globe are now enforcing their own social distancing protocols.
For the most part this means everyone is working from home.
In industries and businesses where working from home is not commonplace this raises a new and unique set of challenges.
The world has, at least temporarily, gone all-virtual and leaders need to find a way to adapt. Not next week. Not tomorrow. Now. This means effectively leading their teams remotely even if they haven't had to do so before.
As a global coaching agency, coaching business leaders in different parts of the world everyday and across many different industries we are noticing a few trends in the issues leaders face regardless of geography, industry or otherwise.
As we all do our part and practice social distancing here are the top issues leaders are coming to us on the topic of leading remotely:
- "How do I create a grounded at home work environment (including physical space)?"
"I need to create a daily rhythm and structure for working remotely, both personally as a leader and for my team."
“We generally do a lot of brainstorming and feed off each other for ideas on how to move projects forward and how to get creative.
How do I do this when my team is all working from home?”
- "I need to stay healthy and set an example for my team."
- "Everyone on my team is concerned with the current business landscape. We don't know what's going to happen and it's distracting."
- "Our Leadership Team needs to have a common ‘script’ when dealing with staff questions so we're aligned and sending the same positive message to our own teams."
A recent HBR article highlights some good principles for leading a remote team. Playing off their list here are some ideas if this is a new experience for you:
- Establish communication channels right away.
There are so many tools for working together remotely.
Some people are going to adapt well to this and for others this will be harder.
- Prioritize results over ‘hours of work’.
Different people are going to be in different situations. Some leaders now have children at home and no help with childcare. Others are able to work uninterrupted. Others are trying to juggle two people working from home in a small confined space, plus having children under foot. This is definitely a time to empathize and be clear on what results are needed by when.
- Keep doing some of what has made your team successful in the past. Creating some familiar patterns for your team leads to a sense of safety and security. One leader talked about the daily huddles they ‘used to have’. The question I asked was, “What is stopping you from continuing to have those huddles?” Continue to have those meetings and check ins that you would have if you were all back at the office.
- Have a clear schedule and dashboard of progress that your team can use to track progress and stay connected to what their colleagues are doing.
This helps increase the accountability for results and also helps people see perhaps how they can contribute in different ways to help their colleagues.
- Create a space for people to share personal/social information. Perhaps it’s tips and tricks on coping with the kids, recipes, activities to do inside, educational websites, etc. Your team is made up of human beings who are having a unique experience right now. Giving them the opportunity to stay connected on a personal level with their team members can help bring some normalcy to their days.
- Make time for 1:1 meetings with your team members.
Everyone will be processing this experience differently and it is important to stay connected on a human level. There will also be different levels of fear and maintaining a 1:1 connection with feedback on how they are doing, are they meeting expectations, what more can they do…this will lead to a better sense of security which can increase trust and perhaps alleviate some fear.
The above list is a good starting point and you can accomplish some quick Virtual Leadership wins if you implement these ideas right away.
Download our FREE comprehensive Virtual Leadership Guide for more in-depth ideas and recommendations here.
Here are additional resources related to COVID-19 you can share with your team:
- Educate yourself and your team on COVID-19
- Help stop the spread of the virus
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 using a credible source
Please share with your peers and comment below.