Remote leadership skills are more sought-after these days than ever. Find out what leaders can do to keep their remote workers engaged, happy, and productive.
Overview:With remote work gaining ground world-over, remote leadership skills have become more critical than ever. An effective remote workplace leader knows how to handle the challenges of at-home work. Such leaders understand that they have to:
- Communicate differently than they would in a live office setting
- Keep up the right frequency of communication
- Drive engagement with their remote workforce
- Help employees balance the work-life equation
- Keep their strategic priorities in focus
Remote work is “in” thanks to the pandemic, and it requires effective remote leadership. At the beginning of the pandemic-induced work-at-home movement, some leaders and managers figured they could transfer their usual leadership methods online without missing a beat. They were wrong.
Remote leadership is a radically different challenge.
The principles of visionary leadership remain valid in a remote work environment. How leaders and managers put these principles into practice differs, however. What can leaders do to improve their remote leadership?
1. Cutting Back on Zoom Meetings
Zoom is a great tool to keep in touch with a remote workforce. Some managers assume, however, that they can use it to recreate in-office water cooler talk and bonding. This approach results in endless online meetings, sabotaging uninterrupted work time.
Constantly diverting the attention of remote employees with online meetings hurts their productivity.
Online communication is different from in-person communication. Organizations that try to use it in a similar fashion will:
- Disrupt work
- Prolong the workday
- Fail to make optimal decisions in a reasonable time
- Waste time
Online meetings only make sense for matters that lend themselves well to this type of communication, like important decisions, staff training, etc. And even then, they require focus, precision, and intentionality to work well.
2. Maintaining Frequent Relevant Communication
While some leaders may abuse online communication, others fail to check in on their remote workers often enough.
Working from home can disconnect employees from their organizations. CEOs can create weekly or daily updates and make them available to employees. The most effective way to keep remote employees in the loop is to communicate:
Visionary leadership values two-way communication. Dialogue is always a more effective communication path than a monologue. Relevant and impactful communication is easy to navigate for all parties involved.
3. Driving Engagement with Remote Teams
Employee engagement is the key to productivity. And remote work poses significant challenges engagement-wise. How do intelligent leaders handle these challenges? How do they get their remote employees engaged, empowered, and motivated?
Employees may assume psychological ownership of their work, but in most cases, the ownership of results, direction, and control falls to managers. In a remote setting, workers should assume wider ownership. They can take the initiative based on objectives and milestones senior management provides.
Altering ownership changes accountability. In a remote work environment, mutual agreements should govern accountability. The top-down initiatives that may work in a face-to-face work environment tend to fall apart in remote settings.
Embracing New Methods
Leadership coaching values attitudes that embrace positive change and are open to experimentation. Intelligent leaders understand that effective remote communication may not revolve around them at all times. It makes sense to hand off the reins of a meeting to employees.
Such initiatives increase engagement and promote active participation in remote communication.
We all tend to respond better to the familiar faces we know from the office. In a productive remote work environment, however, leaders cannot afford to play favorites. The communication should include all team members, regardless of location.
4. Addressing the Challenges of Remote Work-life Balance
Although employees prefer remote work, thinking that it allows them to strike a better work-life balance, the opposite is true.
Remote work can upset work-life balance.
At-home work presents significant challenges in this regard. Leaders can address these challenges by allowing their employees to shape their schedules and adjust workloads.
5. Maintaining Focus on Strategic Priorities
Strategic priorities sum up the objectives of an organization, defining its values to some degree.
Allowing a crisis like the global pandemic to divert focus from these objectives is a mistake. Akin to an organization’s purpose, its strategic priorities create goals, focus, and clarity that can help employees keep their heads in the game.
Effective remote leadership communicates well, values continuous education, and can benefit from networking with other successful remote leaders. As remote or hybrid work becomes the new normal, solid remote leadership may well become the most valuable form of leadership.
For more information on Intelligent Leadership (IL), working with or becoming one of our IL Master Certified Coaches, please see www.ilmovement.com
To learn more about how you can join the IL Movement as a coach, or how you can benefit from bringing IL Solutions to your organization, contact us today.