Good leaders support their team to achieve the task at hand – great leaders look to support their employees with much more than that.
Career development, loyalty to the company you work for and productivity levels are all closely linked to how effective we are at work. And they’re much easier to achieve with a supportive leader.
Providing that support when you’re not physically in the same location is an additional challenge, but one that can be overcome with a commitment to your team and making an extra effort in order to achieve those outcomes of increased loyalty, productivity and much more.
More than a third of employees agree working remotely is isolating and it’s no wonder – you can often be left as a lone jigsaw piece unable to see how you fit into the bigger picture. Of course, the leader needs to generate connections between the team members, but everyone also needs to have a sense of how their work relates to the project – and the company’s aims – as a whole.
You should be:
- Checking in regularly.
- Encouraging interdependency.
- Sharing information about the team’s progress with everyone.
- Supporting all team members having a ‘presence even though they’re not present’ by sharing their ideas and concerns with management, highlighting successes as publicly as possible and sharing positive feedback rather than absorbing all of the praise yourself as team leader.
Having a difficult conversation is exactly that, difficult. It’s something you’d ideally do face to face – but what happens if you’re countries or even continents apart? It may be that the team gathers together once or twice a year, but waiting until then to bring up any underlying issues, and to give team members the chance to communicate any concerns or issues they have, is a recipe for disaster.
Avoiding the conversation is not the way forward so instead:
- Build rapport with the team to smooth the way should a difficult chat be needed.
- Always use video technology where possible rather than sending an email.
- Check in with everyone often to avoid small issues building up – the most successful managers check in with their team regularly.
Concentrate On Their Development
Support has to go beyond helping someone complete their part of a particular project or task. Especially when they are isolated from each other so there are fewer opportunities to learn about the work others are focusing on. Creating a development plan for each individual – looking not only at how they can acquire new skills as part of their current role, but on their long-term career aspirations too, and related goals like achieving a work/life balance – can ensure everyone feels supported in all aspects of their job. It helps to give that reassurance that despite you not physically being there, you are absolutely invested in their future.
Helping You Support Your Team
We’ve created a White Paper looking at ‘Mastering Successful Leadership in a Virtual World’, focused on not only how to support your virtual team but also on how to connect with and motivate them.
For more information on how we can support you to support your team, call 0845 548 0833 or email us.
Until next time,