Most are now familiar with working from home – but what if you’re a manager? As a leader, it is important that you manage from home in an effective way. Here are fie tips to help you lead your remote team.
1) Video — All the Time, Every Time
As I write this article, I have not been in the same room with my anyone on my team in two full months; however, it has only been about 30 minutes since we were all face to face. There are many conferencing and video sharing platforms out there. It doesn’t matter which you choose, just make sure you can share video. Try to limit the impact of not being in the same building.
If the conversation would be face to face at the office, do the same remotely. Smile, make eye contact! Save the phone calls for when they would normally happen. Not only does video allow you to see the engagement of your team, but it allows them to see that you are still fully engaged as well! (even if your hair is a little longer than normal)
2) Ask Questions
Use the responses from your team to gauge how they’re doing, both mentally and in terms of work. It doesn’t need to be complicated and you don’t need to play the role of psychiatrist. Simply ask, how are you doing? How is your family? How was your weekend? Do you need anything? Don’t assume that someone will share concerns with you remotely the same way they might in person. Take the initiative to ask them. We always begin our weekly team meetings with a weekend recap; something non-work related that was special to them over the weekend.
3) Read Body Language
Take the opportunity to read how your team is doing. It is important not to downplay the impact working from home can have on different people. Does your team seem down? Tired? Happy? Do they seem engaged with their posture?
4) Show Body Language
Just as it is important to see your team’s body language, it is also important to let them see you. Make sure you’re displaying a positive message with your body language.
5) Frustrations Can Be Amplified During WFH
If your team is not acclimated to non-office work, be aware that technical mole hills can easily turn into mountains. The inability to connect to VPN, an issue with a keyboard, etc. can be extremely frustrating when no one is physically there to help you. As a leader, you have two roles here: help connect them with someone who can solve the problem and be an open ear that they can vent to.
These quick tips are just a basic start to leading your team from a distance. Put these five ideas on a sticky note on your desk and remind yourself to touch on these whenever possible during meetings. Leading a team can be difficult as it is, remembering these tips will help to keep your team’s relationships and success going strong.