I’m sure you’ve noticed that managing remote employees is different from managing them when they are all in the office. However, instead of going back to what’s familiar and comfortable, and defaulting to the old office habit, I would suggest learning new ways of effectively leading employees anywhere. And that is, to let them work freely.
With almost 20 years of management experience, most of which I worked in remote or hybrid environments, and having employees follow me to whichever company I worked in, I must have done something right. So, let me share some of my most successful leadership methods to help others who want to improve employee job performance and their company’s productivity. We’ll focus on the Do’s this time and the Don’ts next time.
1. Trust the people you hire.
Trust is the key to effective work, especially in a remote team. Employees do their best work when they have the trust of their senior leadership. So, trust your employees’ intuitive mind and professional competence to decide for themselves. As a leader, it’s my job to trust first before anyone demonstrates they are trustworthy. In my experience, there are always 1%-2% of those who do not justify the trust, but they are the minority and should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. We shouldn’t punish the entire team because of those 1-2%.
2. Communicate clearly and often.
It is a leader’s job to clearly articulate the vision, the goals, the expectations, and how your workers’ work fits into that picture, then let them make their own choices about how best to accomplish their work. But you can’t just articulate once and expect your workers to remember them. You need to communicate often, even after you’re sick of doing it. You need to be a CRO-Chief Repeating Officer. You know you can stop when any of your employees can tell you, in their own words, the vision, the goals, the expectations, and how their work fits into the picture.
3. Promote independence and let your team have their say.
I’ve used Intent-Based Leadership by David Marquet. It is not only a delegation of responsibility model, it is a model of educating and empowering team members to act and decide instead of waiting for their manager’s approval. This way, leaders will not become the bottlenecks and decisions will be made by the people who have the most information, which is your team.
“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt
What about you? What’s your experience? Share with me below what leadership methods you have found successful in leading a remote and hybrid workforce.