Whether it is local, national or even international, leaders are finding more and more that they are having to lead teams of people who are remotely based from them. Leading in any context is tough but the physical distance between you and the team mean that you need to do some things differently. So what needs to be different when leading a remote team?
You Need To Be Much More Organised
When you are leading remotely you lose your ability to fire fight. You can no longer just pop over for a quick chat or quick meeting. If you are working internationally you might also be faced with the issue of different time zones. As a result planning becomes even more important than it is when you are located on the same site or in the same office as someone else.
You Have To Learn To Stop Micro Managing
If you are someone who has been used to being in control and in charge of everything, leading a team remotely is going to be a mammoth challenge. Even if you wanted to you can no longer cling on to everything and do it all by yourself. You need to delegate responsibility to others for making things happen. For some this is a major challenge. Accept that it is going to feel a bit uncomfortable to start with and that it will be a bit of a struggle.
You Have To Get Comfortable With Mistakes
We all know that when we empower people, we give them a lot more freedom. The vast majority of the time things will work out well and there are also going to be times when things don’t quite as planned. Start to see this more in terms of learning points. It might not always work out perfectly but progress will be made.
You Have To Trust At A Whole New Level
Trust for any leader can be a big challenge. Add in the dimension of the team being remote and the level of trust goes to a whole new level. Some of the reasons why leaders don’t trust others is fear, worry that someone will do it better, a sense that they will no longer be indispensible to name just a few. On the other hand if you give a strong signal to people that you really trust them you build morale and create great learning and growth opportunities for others.
The Bottom Line: Being able to lead remote teams is becoming more and more of necessity as organisations start to consolidate. Learning to adapt to the new requirements is key to your success.
Duncan Brodie helps accountants and other professionals to build the skills and behaviours to become highly effective leaders. You can access a range of free resources here
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.