5 Best Practices for Leading a Remote Team
For many organizations, instead of getting the opportunity to dip your toes into the deep waters of becoming a remote team, you were thrown into the sea and forced to swim or drown. These 5 simple best practices will help ensure your team stays focused and continues to deliver impact.
by Amanda Bocik
Change is hard. A lot of change all at once is really hard. Your organization has been forced to make big changes and at a rapid pace. For many of you, the change to working remotely has not been easy. Instead of getting the opportunity to dip your toes into the deep waters of the digital company landscape, you were thrown into the sea and forced to swim or drown.
We want to see you thriving on the other side of this season. And that means learning how to embrace these changes and make them work for you. Our team is completely remote. We have clients all over the country, team members in different states, and contractors in different states and even countries. So we thought one way we could serve you during this time is by sharing some of what we know about when it comes to leading a team remotely. These are 5 best practices for leading your team right now.
But, before I dig into the 5 best practices, I just want to comment on how culture plays a role here. Whether your team is digital or not, team culture is always bubbling under the surface. It is present whether you like it or not, whether you’re proud of it or not. Your values have to be crystal clear and lived out – prescriptive and descriptive. Think about what you are known for and what you want to be known for.
Now, let’s talk about 5 effective ways to lead your team digitally.
Create a communication and workflow triage system
For example, if you have a weekly team meeting then ask your team to hold all questions that can wait for the weekly team meeting instead of emailing. Create a “parking lot” list for weekly meeting topics and questions that can be addressed at that time. If there is something important that cannot wait for the meeting, you can use a tool like Slack or Asana or Trello. After that option, then email. Then text. And most urgent is a phone call.
Whatever system you create though, lead by example and follow through on using it yourself first. Hold yourself and others accountable to using it, especially as everyone adjusts. Clearly communicate it with everyone and then implement it and be accountable to one another.
Make trust and communication a top priority
One way to do this is by never handling conflict over written communication. This can come across as passive-aggressive and you can communicate something you didn’t intend to. Handle conflict personally. If you wouldn’t have it that way when your team was together, then don’t do it now.
Manage outcomes, not process
Silence all notifications
Default to video
BONUS: Lead yourself
Make sleep, diet & exercise a non-negotiable right now. There is a direct correlation between mind and body. Be careful not to get caught up in watching Netflix into the wee hours of the morning, eating a lot of sugar, and drinking too much during this quarantine. While all of this is ok in moderation, too much of it takes away from our ability to be productive. Ultimately, this impacts our ability to make a difference and come out thriving on the other side.
Get dressed every day. Even if you are with your kids the majority of the day, you will be more alert and productive when you are working.
Set three goals each day. If you take just a few minutes each morning to set only 3 priorities for your workday, you will gain momentum as you accomplish them. It will give you confidence and focus.
You can do this.
You can do this. You really can. AND you can be even more productive and successful because of it. Can you do me a favor? Try incorporating some of these practices into leading your team this week and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you.