Remote Leadership – how to Stay Relevant and Engaging when Leading from a Distance
Reading time: 3 minutes
Same – But Different
When working with employees remotely, you are essentially required to deliver a timely and engaging day-to-day leadership just as you should if you were in proximity of your employees. But there is one big difference, that makes it more challenging. The communication channels are much narrower.
Since you won’t meet your employees at the coffee machine and in the hallway, you will be exposed to fewer informal cues from your employees about how they work, feel, talk to each other and interact with both colleagues and customers.
To compensate for this, you must be more proactive in seeking information about what is going on. Otherwise you are likely to miss the leadership opportunities that occur on a daily basis.
In the same way, the narrower communication channel makes it more difficult for employees to understand your intentions. As a result, in order to succeed in remote leadership you need to be crystal clear when you communicate.
Give Leadership Where and When it is Needed and Stay Relevant to Employees
The foundation for all leadership – remote or not – is relevance. When you provide a leadership that is relevant for your employees, you help them succeed and in turn you will succeed as a leader. Whether your leadership is perceived as relevant depends on how well your leadership deliverables match how your employees perceive their responsibilities.
So, what do your employees need from you?
Most of the world’s employees will recognize their own jobs in the 7 generic employee responsibilities below. So, your most prominent job is to support individuals and teams in each and all of these areas.
Catch the Leadership Opportunities, when they Occur
By “leadership opportunity” we mean any opportunity for you to monitor, guide, or nudge someone in the direction you want them to move. When should you do so? When a leadership opportunity occurs.
In proximity, leadership opportunities come your way more randomly, often mixed with purely social interactions. When working remotely, however, every exchange with employees is an opportunity for you to ask an explorative question or initiate a specific discussion to ensure that the employee thrives or is focused on one or more responsibilities.
Be Clear About Your Intention
When you have spotted a leadership opportunity, you need to be clear about your intention. Many leadership opportunities can relate to more than one of the Employee Responsibilities. You must decide which perspective you find most important and express clearly how this colours the intention of a given leadership intervention. Do you want to understand a situation better? Or are you ready to put something into action? Coach the employees to find their own solution? Or do you wish to raise a flag that some procedures have been deviated from? Being clear about your intention is the first step of all leadership interventions.
Be Crystal Clear in your Communication
Your employees should not be left in doubt of what you want. So set the tone from the very beginning of your dialogue. To do this it can be helpful to use some simple, but effective, communication tools. Tools that help you listen effectively, explore a situation, and clearly relate your communication and intention to the employee’s responsibilities.
Remote Direct Leadership® - The Online Crash Course gives you the Essential Tools
If you want a “quick and clean” way to succeed in Remote Leadership click below and watch a sample of Remote Direct Leadership® - The Online Crash Course.
It is – as the title says – a crash course. And we have designed it as a toolbox to help you communicate clearly in a way that directly reinforces employee accountability and engagement in each of the 7 areas shown above.
Our customers call it “very practical”, “very hands-on” and “easy to put into practice”.