How is remote leaders different from in-person leaders?

Did you notice that a lot of transformation is being pushed? It doesn’t matter whether it is an agile transformation, a digital transformation, or whatever transformation. When you push something, instead of people wanting it themselves, it creates an environment of pushbacks, i.e. resistance. Most people are not against change, they are against being changed. Typically, people change because of one of these two reasons: 1) Compelled by pain, 2) Inspired by vision.

Great leaders need to have big and bold visions to inspire themselves and their teams. Great leaders also have passion. They invite others onboard and they care about their teams. So, what is the job of a leader? 

  1. Provide clarity of purpose
  2. Control without controlling
  3. Design for flow (not for practices or frameworks)

As to leaders in a remote organization, you’ll need these additional things:

  1. Set clear expectations, regarding results and behavior.
  2. Frequent check-in: not micromanaging, but maybe have a Slack channel to check in. Do temperature check: how are people doing? Do they need any help?
  3. Be transparent: not just what the teams are doing, but what are you doing all day as a leader or manager?
  4. Clear work agreement, especially about communications and tools (zoom, slack, Trello, etc). Where do you have presence? What is the SLA?
  5. Have personal meetings regularly, to discuss what has come up in the past month. If that is not possible, replace with something else. You can call it campfire meetings or all hands, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s interactive.

There may be other things you need to do in your organization as a remote leader, but the key is to connect with your people, and keep experimenting, try things out.

So what have you tried this year? What are your top 5 things as a remote leader? Jot me a note below. I’d love to hear from you. 

Also, come join our agile advent party on December 10. We’ll talk about solutions that address the resistance to agile from the senior leadership, the middle management, the team and the individual level from both the UK and the US perspectives. This is our last event of 2020, it’s going to be fun with holiday cheers!

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