Last time, I shared with you what leaders DO in order to lead employees effectively, whether they are remote or in-person. Today, we focus on the Don’ts.
Overcoming the urge to micromanage may be hard enough when you can see your employees sitting at their desks every day. When you can’t see them, it can be even more difficult. However, this is a bad habit, so don‘t fall into the trap. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they are slacking off. In fact, just because you see them sitting at their desk doesn’t mean they are actually working either. As a leader, it is your job to articulate the vision, the goals, and the expectations, including the deadlines (DO #2), and let your workers (wherever they are) make their own decisions about how best to accomplish their tasks. As long as they finish their tasks within the set deadlines and reach the goals that you’ve articulated, you have nothing to worry about.
2. Expect employees to be available 24/7.
Even if you don’t expect employees to be available 24/7, sending them emails, texts or instant messages outside of office hours can communicate that you expect them to reply immediately and this puts a lot of pressure on them. Would you feel thrilled to get an email from your boss just before midnight? Probably not. Respect their private life and do your best to help them maintain a good work-life balance. Working overtime will only cut into crucial time they need to rest, refresh and recharge. If you really want to help your employees achieve balance, help them work smarter instead of encouraging them to work more hours. You can also encourage them to take a digital detox on weekends. Rested and refreshed employees are productive employees.
3. Forget about team bonding.
Remote workers may struggle more with loneliness, maintaining a sense of purpose, or feeling they are actually a valuable part of the team and the company. It is important to arrange some in-person or social events. Some companies hold quarterly or bi-annual retreats for all of their employees and fly them into the office for holiday events. But don’t just rely on those in-person events. Plan social time during the week. Some companies do virtual Friday socials while others find that setting a day/time for social events feels just like another meeting, so they set aside the first 10-15 minutes of every meeting to talk about anything but work. The goal is to get to know each other better.
Managing a remote team comes with its own set of challenges that require vastly different solutions. Make sure your remote employees are getting everything they need to perform their job. This includes structured communications, the right tools (software AND hardware), and much-needed downtime. If you’re managing a hybrid team, watch out for inequality and bias for remote workers in the hybrid office.
What about you? Any leadership don’ts to add? Comment below and share with me.