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How to Be a Strong Leader While Working Remotely

Maybe you’re working remotely because of the pandemic. Or maybe someone microwaved fish. Whatever the reason, the possibility of leading a team from a distance is 100% possible. The concept of remote work is actually very popular in 2020. In fact, it started rising as a trend for a while. The U.S. has seen a […]

Written By Sarah Mooney

On May 19, 2020

Dedicated wellness expertise each step of the way.

Maybe you’re working remotely because of the pandemic. Or maybe someone microwaved fish. Whatever the reason, the possibility of leading a team from a distance is 100% possible.

The concept of remote work is actually very popular in 2020. In fact, it started rising as a trend for a while. The U.S. has seen a 159% increase in employees working remotely since 2005. That’s a lot!

There has long been a taboo surrounding remote work. However, It has more to do with complacency. Leadership may fall victim – by thinking the future of the company will be the same.

But they’re wrong. Change is inevitable.

With that change comes the mandatory injection of trust throughout the team As remote capabilities have become common, so have company cultures supporting them. With such change, leaders need to adapt. It requires leadership that extends across digital and geographic boundaries.

What’s the best way to approach this change?

Let’s dive into the benefits and strategies required for the future of remote leadership.

Flexibility

The foundation of remote work is flexibility. Employees no longer need to follow firm clock-in and clock-out times. Commutes no longer exist.

The Challenge: It’s hard to keep track of people arriving “at work” when they’re home or elsewhere. Response time may differ – they’re no longer sitting across from you.

The Benefit: It should come as no surprise that people enjoy a lack of boundaries. Especially when it comes to their personal time. But after removing firm rules, it’s far easier to deliver results without stress.

When a commute requires less than 10 steps in slippers and a hoodie – or onesie, people tend to “show up” more.

Trust

The Challenge: Whether they’re direct reports or colleagues, distance is hard. Video chats and emails still leave a lot to be desired. Remote connections require trust. You need to trust that your team is being diligent during work hours.

The Benefit: Empower your team to take responsibility for their own time. They will likely display better results. 

When you’re leading remotely, it’s even more important to express trust and delegation.People are productive when they feel trusted to handle their own schedules. This applies across remote work environments and in-office.

Delegation & Accountability

It’s often hard to keep track of loose threads when teams are scattered. The need to delegate responsibility is heavily needed.

The Challenge: Back to the topic of trust. It’s hard enough to delegate when you see everyone daily – It’s even harder when you can’t. Set things in motion and don’t hover; no repeat emails or rhetorical texts. Trust your team.

The Benefit: Delegating responsibilities and letting people work is powerful. You will learn more about strengths this way and will see more accomplished.

Transparency

One of the most valuable times to be honest as a leader is when you’re communicating. In times that are both challenging or exciting, showing your human side can do wonders.

The Challenge: Email. Text. Video conferencing. They all have pros and cons, but the limiting factor to most is showing emotion. People can presume motives and context becomes lost.

The Benefit: While sharing the challenges behind scenes, honesty is paramount. While certain details fall outside of the scope of ‘need to know’, they can build trust if shared.

Making your team feel like they’re within the inner circle creates a bond. Be a human first. A manager second.

Communication

The one that comes first, gets listed last. The reason for this is that communication should be the foundation of everything you do as a leader. You shouldn’t think of it as a box to check.

It’s easy to lose sight of how you’re communicating when we can’t see faces. Shorthand terms and corporate jargon only gets you so far. Less so when remotely communicating with people.

It’s about frequency and quality. Over-communicating is far more appreciated when there are screens separating you. I would rather hear more updates than less.

Conclusion

The future is heading towards more remote-first. Regardless of the permanence, it’s important to know how to connect with each other. 

Did you know Twitter has moved to fully remote options?

Ask yourself: Does my team wake up and dread opening their email? If so, how do I make sure I’m relieving them of that feeling? If they’re not, what can I continue doing?

As a leader, you’re in service to those who look to you for direction. Not the other way around. The distance can reveal strong leaders. Make sure you’re prepared to expose your best qualities.

Let’s start boosting employee wellness and productivity within your company

While there’s no one-size-fits-all-solution for remote work, there are several strategies and tactics that are proven effective. Learn more about how our Growth Events can enable your remote team to connect and collaborate better. LEON is here to help your company succeed employee-first during these challenging times.

Dedicated wellness expertise each step of the way.