For many, leading remotely has become a must within your repertoire as a leader. Perhaps you’re a CEO traveling often, an executive leading a team spread around the city, state, or world, an entrepreneur working from home without a brick and mortar facility, a parent without physical access to your kids due to work, divorce, etc., or a virus suddenly rips through the world!
The difficult part of leading remotely can be there’s limited physical contact, an increased need for increased trust, and a limited amount of small talk and comradery that some people enjoy. However, the positives are your leadership, meetings, processes, and focus can become more streamlined and effective. Leading remotely is a great opportunity to enhance your leadership, the leadership of others on your team, and your work/life harmony as it meshes with many of the concepts I’ve shared in my videos, blogs, and books. So, what to do?
Regularly Scheduled Meetings
Due to working remotely, you will not have the luxury of simply walking down the hall to have a brief, or if you’ve ever worked in an office setting, a potentially long conversation to get an answer to a question or to run an idea by someone. Also, without knowing the schedule of the person you’re attempting to contact; it’s unknown when they’ll respond to your email, text, or call. Therefore regularly scheduled meetings are necessary for your remote leadership.
It’s up to you to decide what “Regular” will be: daily, weekly, monthly? Whatever you decide… STICK TO IT and BE ON TIME! As a leader, it is up to you to set the expectation and standard for the meeting/s and having them when they’re scheduled. Remember, punctuality is paramount in setting the example. Secondly, inconsistently following a meeting schedule will devalue the meeting and slow your success! Once the meeting is missed consistently, deemed optional, or unimportant… it will fade… and so will your leadership. Be Mindful!
The great things I’ve experienced about Virtual Meetings are they are more to the point, tend to be more effective, and reduce the amount of complaining and storytelling that occur in most face-to-face meetings. Here are a few simple tips for the flow of your meeting:
- P.C. – Be Prompt, Positive, and Consistent!
- Planned Itinerary – Have a meaning for the meeting, a time frame for the meeting, and an itinerary. No one wants to be in the long, boring, drawn-out, and unproductive meetings held by so many organizations!
- Solution-Focused – Develop the leadership skills of your people by asking for their solutions… not their complaints regarding projects, issues, and new ideas!
- Recap – Most people will only remember what was significant to them or the last thing heard. Recap the topics of the meeting, what will be done, and by who.
- End the meeting with positivity and motivate your team to be the rockstars you know them to be!
A Leader’s Nicely
I have the honor of speaking and training organizations, leaders, teams, and employees on enhancing their Leadership & Work/Life Harmony… and A Leader’s Nicely, although corny-sounding, has become a significant part. It suggests that you, as a leader, become aware of how your people learn best; making them aware of what they need to do and easier for you to convey necessary information.
There are four main ways people learn best: auditory, visual, written, and hands-on. There are other ways, but these tend to be the most effective. I once conducted a training at a facility and when I explained this concept; 36 out of the 38 attendees stated aloud they were Hands-On Learners. It suddenly became evident why they were having such difficulty speaking and training each other because they tended to walk over to one another, blurt out a bunch of directions, and walk away (auditory). Wow… what a light bulb moment for such a wonderful group of people that wanted to do something better! They now know the group’s best learning style, how to use it, and positivity on the floor and production within the organization increased!
Therefore as a leader, there are three things to do to enhance your remote leadership:
- Ask your team, while in the virtual meeting, how do they learn best: auditory, visual, written, or hands-on. Encourage them to them prepare themselves to learn that way. For example, listen intently and with minimal distractions in their space, have a notebook… not a laptop, but a real book to handwrite important notes, or attempt what was discussed after the meeting.
- As a leader, be sure your meeting provides different learning options. If they are auditory… are you speaking clearly, concisely, and knowledgeable about the topic? If they’re written… are there bullet-pointed notes emailed post-meeting? This acts to protect you as a leader; making sure everyone has knowledge of what was discussed. Did you encourage them to try the process after the conclusion of the meeting and get back to you with any concerns or questions? This leads to #3!
- I don’t have many rules, however big one is… if we’ve gone back and forth in an email or text more than three times with no positive conclusion; something is off and we need to get on a call. Remember, unless the team is having a universal issue, meetings aren’t the time for conversations that can be better discussed one-on-one.
A Personal Touch
Being in an office setting, same space, or house with someone gives you ample opportunity to be face-to-face and meet the needs of your people. This assumes, as a leader, you care enough to know what those needs are. When leading remotely, A Personal Touch suggests you schedule a brief meeting-time with each person on your team (perhaps monthly, pre-project, and post-project). During this time you thank them for their time, effort, and dedication they’ve demonstrated and utilize the “Leader’s Bookend”:
- What do they enjoy about the project, new endeavor, etc.?
- What have they learned through the process and what will they pass on to someone else in the future? Remember, leaders create leaders!
- Anything they’d fine-tune about the process?
- Is there anything you need from me?
Lastly, knowing the language of the members on your team will help tremendously as you will always have their ear! I explain further in my newest book, 7 Ways to Lead. There are 7 Languages your people need, want, and benefit most from hearing from leadership… The Leader’s 7! Everyone likes all seven, but each one of your people have a Top 1 or 2:
Knowledge & Advancement
Recognition & Affirmation
Once you ask and know the languages of your people… you can’t unknow; allowing you to enhance your leadership, remote leadership, and work/life harmony! Enjoy your evolution and enhance your remote leadership by Having Regularly Scheduled Meetings, do “A Leader’s Nicely”, and creating a Personal Touch.
“Inconsistently following a meeting schedule will devalue the meeting and slow success! Once the meeting is missed consistently, deemed optional, or unimportant… it will fade… and so will your leadership. Be Mindful!”
– Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young