How To Manage A Team Remotely
Employees choosing jobs with remote possibilities is on the rise. Most likely, you will be managing a remote team, if not now, then in the future. According to Modality, 76% of individuals use video collaboration to work remotely. Knowing how to manage in a remote work environment will help you advance your career.
Remote teams pose challenges to any manager. However, the good news is, you can learn to manage remote teams, and be highly successful.
Whatever situation you are in, remote management is a critical new skill.
Below are three strategies to help you manage a team remotely.
1. Clear Communication
Clear communication is paramount because you aren’t physically in the same space as everyone on your team. Impromptu conversations can’t be had, so you must be intentional with your communications.
Consider the following:
- Communication Channels – You can’t stop by someone’s desk and check in when you work remotely. And no one else on your team can do that either. Because of this, you will want to set up communication channels for yourself and your team. For example, one way to do this is to use Slack. Slack allows you to create several different chats. In this way, your team can communicate with each other in real-time. You can start a chat for project-based discussions, one for company news, one for non-work chat, etc. When you do this, you allow your team to continuously communicate with you and each other without having to schedule a meeting.
- Disseminate Information – Everyone on your team must get the information needed to do their job. You also want to ensure you disseminate any critical information to your team. If your team is finding out things about their jobs or the company in other ways, they may feel excluded from the company and their role within it. For example, one way to keep everyone informed is to create a team newsletter. You can send this newsletter out each week at the same time. In this way, no one on your team is caught off guard.
- Extra Communication – You don’t have the luxury of taking an additional five minutes after an in-person meeting to make sure someone understands the next steps for a project. Extra communication is always a good idea. For example, after a meeting, send out a recap in an email. People learn and retain information differently, so an email recap could help clarify what was said.
Setting up communication channels right away, and ensuring everyone on your team is up to date, will help your team feel empowered to do their jobs.
2. Stay Visible
As the team leader, you need to stay visible. In other words, your team needs to feel like they can contact you, and that you will respond. Staying visible in a remote work environment will take effort on your part. However, your team will appreciate knowing you care about them and their jobs.
Consider the following:
- Schedule Check-Ins – Normally, when you are in an office situation, your team has the opportunity to drop in and speak to you whenever something comes up. However, it is up to you as the leader to schedule regular check-ins when working remotely. For example, you could schedule a weekly call with your team. Or, you could reach out to individual team members and set up a fifteen-minute call once a quarter. The more proactive you are in checking in with your team, the more supported they will feel.
- Be Available – Staying visible also means being available. Your team needs to be able to contact you and know you will respond. Because your team may be living all over the world, being available to everyone at all times isn’t possible. However, you can give your team options to help ensure they feel seen and heard. For example, one way to be available is to let your team know which communication channel you prefer. You can tell your team something like, “If you need to contact me directly, please send me a message on Slack.” Just make sure you are active and quick to respond through whichever channel you said you preferred.
- Don’t Be Afraid Of Video – Being visible includes being seen. When your team sees and hears from you regularly, they will be more engaged and feel supported. For example, one way to be seen is to do a weekly video. You can pre-record these videos, or you can choose to go live on Zoom or Google Meet. Make sure you record these videos so team members who aren’t available to watch live can view the playback.
Being visible will help you connect with your team so they can do their jobs with confidence.
3. Set Clear Expectations
You don’t want to micromanage your team. To avoid being a micromanager, you have to set clear expectations. This is especially true in a remote setting. You have to trust your team will get their job done. When your team knows what is expected, you empower them to do their job to their best ability.
Consider the following:
- Set Expectations Early – Setting expectations early will help you manage as time goes on. This is because your team will know what is expected of them right away. For example, if you expect your team to respond to any correspondence within 48 hours, make sure this is clearly communicated. Whatever your expectations are, your team needs to know them from the start.
- Measurable Objectives – Every team member has an objective. This objective could be anything from scheduling social media to processing payroll. As the team manager, you need to ensure these objectives are measurable. When goals are measurable, you can more easily determine if the objective is met. For example, a social media manager’s job is to manage the company’s social media. However, this isn’t a very measurable objective. To make it more measurable, you could include parameters. These parameters could include posting three grid posts per week, growing the social media following by 50 each month, and creating one unique reel per week. These objectives are measurable and clear.
- Trust Your Team – When you manage a remote team, you have to trust them. You won’t be able to pop over to their desk to check their progress. However, you won’t have to micromanage if you’ve set clear expectations and measurable objectives. For example, if you’ve created a project deadline for Friday, give your team until Friday to complete their work. If the project isn’t finished, you can reach out to your team because they did not meet the clear expectation.
When you are clear in your expectations, you can trust your team will execute their jobs accordingly.
In the end, managing a remote team takes a little extra effort. However, once you’ve set up your communication channels, and clearly communicated your expectations, you can manage your team successfully from anywhere in the world.
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