Leading a team can be challenging in the best of times. Now that many employees and managers throughout the world are working from home, the challenge is even greater. Especially if teams are used to being together and have regular meetings, then remote leadership and management is new. Not only that, for many employees the remote working situation will also be challenging.
Regardless of the situation and whether or not managers and employees were already used to working together remotely, it is key for managers to not only manage their team, but also to lead it.
So what are good ways to manage and lead a team in remote situations?
Step 1: Check-in sessions
Managing a team, remotely or not, means keeping on top of each individual’s work and finding out whether or not they are doing well or if they need additional support. Team managers will have to try and talk to their team members more to prevent miscommunication or someone getting stuck. Set up crystal clear communication guidelines and keep communicating, even if it is just to send a quick email update. These sessions will help keep each other informed and discuss any issues that one (or more) team members are running into. Limiting the risk of miscommunication and establishing a workflow that helps the team move forward.
Use videoconferencing technology, such as Microsoft Teams, with or without the cameras on, to conduct these check-ins. While these types of meeting should be frequent, how frequent depends on the team’s needs. Some may benefit from 30 minutes at the beginning of every day, while others may be fine with an hour once a week.
Step 2: Talk to Team Members Individually
The needs of an individual within a team differ per person. Some may be fine working with fewer meetings besides the recurring team meetings while others need the extra support to share their concerns. The main thing to do is to be there for those that need the help and listen.
In these instances, where remote working is enforced especially, managers face a hard task; namely to remain calm. According to the Harvard Business Review once managers convey stress to their team members, this causes a “trickle-down” effect on the individual team members. In other words, it will spread throughout the entire team and will not help them move beyond. The key is to listen and try to help the individual so they can find a way to move forward while feeling that they are being heard.
Step 3: Lead and Motivate
Do not just manage the team! Lead them. It is hard to work remotely when you are used to having your team around you at the office. Successful managers are flexible, supportive, and available. These leaders show they care about the team, about the individuals in the team, they celebrate the wins, and motivate their employees to give the best to their specific jobs, to use their skills where they are needed.
Team leaders do not just ask after work, they take the time to ask how their team members are doing, invite them to share a fun experience, etc. They are inspiring and motivating in the team meetings and offer guidance to those who need it.
Find out what a team needs, what is necessary to reach that need, and how the entire team can move toward achieving this together. Is a meeting once a week enough? Or does the team prefer a daily start-up? Who needs help? What is it they need? These and more questions will turn managers into successful leaders who are aware of their teams’ struggles and success and act accordingly.
The Corona virus is still spreading, so talk to team members, ask for help and share! The team will benefit from openness and honesty most of all. So help each other, and move forward together!
FourVision is Microsoft’s global leading Dynamics 365 Human Resources implementation partner. We have successfully implemented HR platforms in a variety of industries across multiple Microsoft environments for over a decade. FourVision also delivers an impressive suite of Web Apps that extend Microsoft Dynamics 365 Human Resources.