Leaders of remote teams that I work with often struggle with creating a fully engaged environment.
Big companies will fly employees to head offices for team-building activities and meetings but it isn’t always the most efficient solution.
Employees are on task, meeting deadlines and delivering as promised but the Slack channels are pretty quiet and as soon as the end of the day arrives, work statuses turn red and everyone disappears until the next morning.
As a manager, it feels distant and a little uncomfortable. It really feels as though people are just punching in and punching out and collecting a paycheck on their way.
It’s not exactly the culture you intended to create. You’re a high-impact leader that strives for success and legacy.
It’s not too late to turn it around.
Reflect on these four considerations to bring your team closer together than ever before.
Probably the most important factor. How autonomous are your team members? How much (of your) approval do they require to not only do what is required of them, but for them to do anything at all?
Are they permitted to step away from their desk for 15 minutes unannounced?
Is it ok to start work an hour later or finish an hour earlier?
Are team members allowed to run their own meetings and calls between themselves?
Increasing autonomy means releasing control and trusting more. This might not always be your favourite flavour of management but you hired them for a reason.
With more independence, team members will naturally bind together for support and ensure each other is on-track. There will be more communication, more creative solutions and relationships become stronger.
Trust first or trust afterward?
Logic suggests your team members prove themselves to you and in turn are rewarded with your trust.
I argue your trust is theirs to lose.
Reduce your risk and increase autonomy by improving the choice architecture in your team.
As Nobel Memorial Prize winner Richard H. Thaler describes in his best seller Nudge, allow people to choose from the choices you create, “A choice architect has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions.”
Trust breads more trust so as soon as you give it, the sooner you’ll receive it and tenfold.
That said, set the bar high and encourage the team to meet the standards you expect on their own accord.
“A choice architect has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions.” - Richard H. Thaler
An increase in autonomy inevitably leads to greater responsibility.
Responsibility is often confused with doing more whereas in this case, we are considering responsibility in terms of higher-impact decisions and solving more complex challenges.
More mental power and efficiency over more tasks to check off.
More responsibility empowers and motivates developing leaders to produce quality as they recognise their importance to the project and colleagues.
A sense of duty becomes a byproduct and empathy increases as well.
Bringing more empathy to our work, we extend our consideration to others through dialogue, support and problem-solving and thus create tighter bonds.
We start building teams of leaders.
As individuals’ responsibility grows, the more each person steps up to surpass their objectives.
Having created a positive-circle of autonomous and responsible leaders, everyone is now invested in achieving the common goal, together.
Decentralising the team’s leadership, we now have a group of professionals leaning on each other and propping each other up where necessary.
No (wo)man gets left behind.
Each brings their own piece to the puzzle and everyone makes sure that everyone else is on schedule and where they should be.
The puzzle can’t be completed without everyone pulling their pieces together.
You now have a fully integrated and independent team and by connecting on a deeper level, we create long-term results.
Tapping into vulnerability can solidify an already successful team.
We can create opportunities to achieve this remotely by scheduling regular virtual team-building activities and challenges, training and development and even personal and team coaching.
These all create a safe space to invite peers to share doubts, concerns and gaps they’re noticing, free from judgement or criticism.
Learning each other’s insecurities or “weaker areas” deepens relationships and builds more trust.
This is success for the long-term.
Which factors does your team need to develop most to create the unbreakable connection of champions?
Keep leading by example,
PS When you are ready to take increase your impact as a virtual leader and inspire your team to reach the next level, book a call with me.