Remote Control: How to Manage Teams Remotely
Remote Control: How to Manage Teams Remotely
All of us have now been working from home for months and we’ll have our own views on how best we might have been managed over that period.
As a leading recruitment agency in London, we’ve pulled together our advice for managing remote teams:
“If you’re thinking it, they’re thinking it”
Unless you’re the owner or the CEO, the chances are that you yourself have a manager. Take a moment to think about that and quickly write down what has worked, and what has not worked, for you as the person being managed while working from home. Then ask yourself, “have I done the positives and avoided the negatives myself as a manager?”. Personal reflection in management is an essential skill that is often overlooked, and you’ll be amazed at how much you will learn and be able to adapt your own management skills by conducting this exercise.
“Know anyone who’s a mind-reader?”
Remember – your boss is not a mind-reader, you are not a mind-reader and the people who report to you are not mind-readers. So if something is on your mind and won’t go away, don’t stew – speak up! One of the skills top remote managers have is empathetic management – this skill is particularly important in remote management as you won’t get to truly see and spend time with your team throughout the week. Creating an environment where people know they can really open up to you about how they are feeling and how they feel their job is going is key. By the time you get to an appraisal scenario, there should be no surprises as there should have been proactive open and honest communication without fear of judgement throughout the intervening period.
Get on schedule
Have daily meetings and check-ins and use video more than phone and email to genuinely connect with your team each day. This might seem like overkill but even just a 15 minute meeting where the day’s challenges can be talked through can really bring a team together in seeking to solve challenges which would ordinarily be shared in the office but can sometimes remain “cooped up” while people are working from home – this is often not good for the person, or the challenge that needs to be solved. Before you know it, that challenge can turn into a problem having to be resolved, and often under time pressure. The result? You end up fire-fighting as opposed to operating on the front foot.
Set your people up for success
Seek to be that remote manager who has covered all of the bases when it comes to the home set up of each of your team members. Just as you know where they sit in the office, make a note of where they are working at home – in an office, in a shared space downstairs, in their bedroom? Just on the laptop, on a monitor – do they need a second or third screen to help them, as they would normally have at work? What about their chair – is it fit for sitting down and working eight hours a day? Be the remote manager who has thought about this, understood it, who has suggested improvements and then met and ideally exceeded expectations in delivering them. Do everything you can to enable your remote worker to outperform in their job. They are then likely to do everything they can to do just that for you in return.
You can’t micromanage any more, so do this…
Talk about outcomes as opposed to activity. Talk about why someone should be doing their job rather than how they should be doing it. Giving your team a meaningful reason to work hard, and ensuring they understand their role in delivering great outcomes for their customers, will help give them the impetus they need to motivate themselves when working from home in what is essentially an isolating environment.
Think about it, you want to be trusted to do a good job and you can be trusted to do a good job. The majority of people fit into this category and want to be trusted. Yet it can be surprisingly hard, especially with reduced visibility of what your team are actually “doing” all day, to truly offer that trust. Take a breath and just start trusting people, tell them you trust them to do a great job and you’re there for them when they need you to help them be successful. You, and they, will find this liberating and again, your team will want to be worthy of that trust.
There are hundreds of articles available offering tips on how to manage remotely, but in the end if you can arrive at a place with your team where they themselves really want to work for their customers, for their team and for their company and they completely understand why that is important and how their role is central to great outcomes, then many of the perceived “problems” that you may have in motivating and managing people remotely (or indeed in the office) will have been for the most part, and for most people, greatly diminished.
You’ve got this!
If you are requiring assistance with your business support recruitment, or are a candidate looking for your next temporary or permanent business support role in London please contact our team so we can help you with your search at email@example.com
Take care and we hope to see you soon!