This is not business as usual.
And neither is the management space in which we find ourselves.
Working remotely is different – regardless of whether you do it normally or not.
It requires a different connection, a different rhythm, and a different productivity push.
I was asked – by my own team members – to write about my experience managing a remote team.
Honestly, I should have asked them. And I will.
But my comms team has been amazing during this time – using all the buzz words, team members have been pivoting, embracing innovation, jumping in head first and doing change on the run.
Being busy gives purpose and structure but it has its downside also through email overload and exploding inboxes.
We miss the people aspect and the chocolate sharing (or is that just me?)
It’s important to always keep in mind that people are dealing with remote life as well as remote work and everyone has a different way of dealing with that.
We have a daily work from home team catch up over Zoom. There’s not always an agenda and sometimes there are games. Pets and children are encouraged as they lighten it up. Hats and glittering backgrounds also welcome.
In our team Whatsapp group we mainly gossip, share pics or complain about internet connection.
And the team is keeping themselves connected and organised – smaller team meetings are more regular and work being divided daily.
Considerations for managing remotely:
- Adapt your leadership style if you need to (more will be required of you)
- Set clear priorities. And where you can’t (because everything is urgent!), ask for the help of your team to work that through
- Ask questions but don’t micro-manage (set and let them go)
- Regular contact (let team members help determine what that looks like)
- Let your natural leaders shine. If they are volunteering to do things they don’t normally, let it happen
- Wear hats/sparkles/pjs/costumes on your Zoom call – basically whatever your team want, do it
- Encourage pets/children/cartoon character involvement in Zoom meetings
- Invite your team to throw in a bit of innovation or behaviour change before someone notices:
- a) challenge the ‘we don’t do that’ attitude, because you do now!
- b) let the team show you what they’ve got/try and fail if you need.
- Evaluate the work – and report to show it. Change if you need.
- Brief up on what the team is doing because those you’re responsible to can’t see you
- Give positive, genuine, truthful and authentic feedback
- Be open. Let team members learn about you and learn about them (vulnerability is not a failure, sometimes stuff is hard)
The world is becoming less strange. Slightly.
But as it opens up again, it offers opportunities we’ll take forward with us as a team, as I will as a manager.