Due to the unforeseen circumstances succeeding the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses all over the world have had to transform their proceedings to a virtual medium. This unanticipated situation has caused people in leadership positions to transfer to leading their teams remotely. Not only was this a demanding plan of action essential for corporate functioning, but also a testing feat for leaders all over the world who are easily the cornerstone of any organization.
Even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and the entire lockdown situation, the trend of remote team management has been witnessing a significant rise in its demand. This is because of the establishment of online shops and local businesses moving to cyberspace to make their services more accessible to the audience.
However, managing an entire team remotely is not an easy endeavor. It requires a substantial amount of effective communication, strategic planning, and implementation of that plan, along with patience to navigate the fundamentals of the job. In this article, we will help you identify the top 7 leadership mistakes that could pose as a great hindrance in the way of you leading your team remotely – and what you can possibly do to evade them.
- Weak team spirit
As a leader, your job is an all-pervasive one and requires a multifaceted attitude to situations and teams. Oftentimes, when teams are working remotely, and not under the direct supervision of a leader, employees tend to feel like they are made to work for an entity that is not even part of the team. It is very important for a leader to have established a credible bond with the team members who are working on their command.
To avoid this situation, you as a leader can create a distinct but inclusive approach to dealing with your team members remotely. Assigning tasks to your employees and then disappearing from the radar will likely weaken the trust and respect your team members have for you. To sustain good relationships and team spirit with your employees, you should act as an active participant of the team, instead of only playing the role of a leader who keeps giving orders.
- Problems in communication with the remote team
Communication is without the shadow of a doubt one of the key components in developing and guaranteeing healthy relationships among people everywhere. In the workplace environment, you as a leader are known for your ability to communicate effectively and actively. Whenever there is a misconception caused by poor communication in any workspace, business dealings and the general atmosphere of the organization is the first to suffer.
This struggle to sustain effectual communication becomes extra taxing when you have to interact with a remote team. Poor communication is a mistake that can cause severe problems for your business if you have a remote team to lead. To avoid this, you can decide on a communication tool that is well-suited to the needs of your organization and team so everyone has easy access to the information you want them to know.
- Insufficient knowledge about the company culture
Every company has its own unique set of conventions and values that define what it stands for and represents as a company. It is best advised to note down what your company culture will be like so when you start recruiting members for your remote team, you will not have to worry about individuals who are not on the same wavelength as your organization’s principles. This will also allow the recruited team members to adopt the company culture at a faster rate and become familiar with the company’s core values.
- Recruiting people who are not proactive remote workers
Once you make the decision that you require a remote team for your business, you should be primarily looking for people eligible and well-suited for the kind of job that requires remote work. The safest option for identifying such individuals are ones who have been doing freelance work or people who have directly worked in a remote team before. Taking this small step will make your job as a leader easier while managing a remote team.
- Micromanaging the remote team
Micromanagement is one of the biggest mistakes that leaders have made while managing a remote team. As a leader, your job requires you to provide guidance to the people working under your supervision and make sure that effective communication is sustained, not micromanage every individual who is working for you.
Just because you are hiring a remote team does not mean you get to pester and micromanage your team to compensate for the lack of an in-office presence. Hounding your employees for consistent updates on the tasks can actually weaken your position as a leader in their eyes. Your job as a leader is to teach your remote team to be more self-reliant and be effective communicators that do not require someone to tell them what to do 24/7.
- Failing to acknowledge the needs and struggles of the team members
Remote work is not an easy job. It’s simply just like any other job that requires a lot of work. And your employees are guaranteed to come across hurdles where they will need your guidance and leadership skills to help them out. When this happens, as a leader you should try to connect with them as a real person and be empathetic toward what they’re going through. This will not only strengthen your bond with them but also assist them in overcoming the hindrances at a much faster pace.
- Not providing proper guidelines and instructions
This is a mistake leader often make when it comes to the actual work that needs to be done by the remote team. To avoid micromanagement and ensure the smooth flow of remote operations, as a leader you are required to make clear plans for your team, and give proper details and instructions so the employees can have a reliable guidebook to refer to when they feel a little lost.
The role of a leader or manager is unlike the roles of the employees working for them. For that reason, any mistake committed by a person in a leadership position would be of a greater magnitude. As a leader, the most instrumental step you can take for yourself is to assess your current role and then make careful deductions about what needs to be done to successfully lead and manage a team remotely.
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Dr. Tina Persson |CEO| Career & Leadership Coach| Author | Helping people to fulfill their goals