With a remote working style, the picture needs more focus. Managing such distributed employees working individually in their homes is quite a task. This begs the question, “How did companies manage their business without a hitch?” Were there any special skills they implemented?
Certainly, it is “leadership.” In the office workplace, a leader manages and brings every aspect of the business together, binds the employees, and continuously motivates them to look up to the organisational goal. Likewise, in remote leadership, the leader takes up the goal, makes a successful leap, and finally achieves the organisational goal, along with fulfilling the employees’ goals.
Read on to deeply understand a completely new concept, “remote leadership,” and how you can promote effective remote leadership skills in your business.
What is Remote Leadership?
We have witnessed a lot of leadership styles, but all in the same place: the workplace. However, now the time has changed. Remote leadership emerges as a result of the evolution and success of remote work. According to Molood Ciccarelli, CEO of Remote Forever, a company based in Sweden, “Remote Leadership is a never-ending learning journey.”
Simply put, remote leadership is a work style that is the need of the hour. It involves management, communication, analysis, judgment, promotion, and determination. Remote leadership involves synchronising employees’ efforts while they work from home with the company’s goals, which depend on teamwork and coordination. Employers report that a transition to remote work has been effective for them 83% of the time, according to a PwC poll of 133 executives.
It is not easy to maintain pure leadership while being at home. Many challenges confront remote leadership, necessitating the need for leaders to take the initiative and develop remote leadership skills that no one or no challenge can beat.
Challenges of Remote Leadership
If managing workplace teams is hard, then managing remote or hybrid teams is harder. Remote leadership comes with its own set of challenges.
Lack of direct involvement and supervision
In the realm of virtual work, many managers discover they are less involved with projects. It is more challenging to monitor daily progress, interpret non-visual indications from team members, and overcome barriers to remote communication.
Inability to access information
You’ll frequently find yourself frantically searching through the business drive when you can’t ask a question by just heading over to your coworkers. Accessing information becomes a hassle, and many self-conscious people don’t appreciate being constantly bugged with queries.
Distractions at Home
Being a leader is challenging enough, but what happens when you also have to homeschool the twins, deal with an attention-seeking dog, and listen to your neighbour’s construction noises? All these interruptions can become a little too much when you’re already struggling to support your employees remotely.
In remote work settings, unplanned face-to-face interaction stops happening. Any interaction and conversation must be deliberate and prepared. Often, a leader misses a conversation, leading to a remote communication gap.
Working from home alone prevents coworkers from physically meeting, which can be very isolating. It’s challenging for remote leaders to check in regularly with their team members, and they struggle to understand how their teammates are feeling or what they need.
10 Effective Remote Leadership Skills
Here’s a rundown of 10 remote leadership skills that may help overcome the challenges of remote leadership.
1. Promoting crystal-clear communication
Remote leaders need to choose a proper mode of communication, be it a video conference, email, or communication tool. Because solid teams are not born, they are made with clear communication between teammates and team leaders. Effective remote leadership entails employees conversing among themselves to get access to information. Plus, the employees should have enough freedom to go and communicate the challenges with their managers.
2. Being more involved and observant
Knowing when to offer assistance and having good listening skills are essential because not everyone will disclose every aspect of their lives. However, a great remote leader should be alert to changes in productivity or attitude to handle any personal or work-related issues within the team as soon as they arise.
Be proactive and stay in touch frequently, but keep in mind that there is a thin line between providing constant help and acting as a micromanager.
3. Capacity to unite individuals
In a remote setup, workers feel that social isolation is an obstruction, which makes them feel bored or less interactive in their work. The team needs to be lifted, and cooperation needs to be encouraged.
In addition to establishing workplace rules and customs that benefit all of your employees, you, as a remote leader, play a crucial role in ensuring that business values are reflected in your actions.
4. Creating a flexible and adaptable culture
A remote culture is very different from a workplace culture, and the digital workplace has its own set of rules it intends to follow. In remote leadership, flexibility is always important, not just in emergencies or when you need a fallback plan.
Managing people, projects, and change in remote settings are exceptionally difficult. Because of this, fostering creativity and experimenting with various problem-solving techniques will demonstrate an open, resilient, and adaptable culture.
5. Instead of counting hours, count results
It is necessary to count outcomes rather than hours worked. Setting quantifiable goals while preserving adaptability and understanding are all aspects of remote leadership. Your staff should be free to work on your own schedule rather than theirs.
The advantages of working from home are defeated if you require your staff to complete their deliverables during set hours. Many leaders must let go of the “hours worked” approach to productivity monitoring and instead concentrate on end goals.
6. Setting clear expectations
Everyone at work has their definition of what doing something “well” and “quickly” means. As a remote leader, walk your team through the clear instances of how things need to be done, whether through showing a particular course of action or syncing your calendars with them. Not only will this bring clarity to work, but it will also enhance communication.
7. Trusting remote team members
It is important to have the same level of trust in your team members as you do when they are in the office. Some remote leaders are still determining whether the work assigned to the team members will be completed. You can create remote work guidelines such as “emails should be responded to within 24 hours,” “urgent matters must be addressed as soon as possible,” and so on. This will ensure team coordination and improve communication.
8. Prioritizing video over audio
Face-to-face interaction with remote employees is essential. Remote team members will feel less engaged and self-doubting if you do not encourage face-to-face meetings. This is why it is essential to conduct video meetings, and it will make a virtual conversation more natural and inclusive.
9. Make use of technology
Instead of manually counting the presence of remote workers each day, marking their work hours, and recording their performance, you, as a remote leader, can use workflow automation softwares. These programmes will automatically and systematically record these remote workers’ presence, hours of activity, and output.
10. Rewarding achievement
It is essential to recognize the efforts of remote workers the same way you would have if they had been in the office. There is no bigger motivation for an employee than recognition, and you can do this by “sending a recognition email” or “personal message,” etc.
There needs to be a pre-packaged approach to remote leadership. The needs of the team, the industry, and the person all influence an effective approach. The most crucial considerations are fostering teamwork, effective communication, and flexibility.
Moreover, remote leaders come across several remote leadership challenges, but what matters is how they deal with them. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 remote leadership skills that can help teams stay together and achieve organisational goals.