Seven ways to ensure success to your remote team as a leader!

Several recent studies show top 5 things employees value above salary are culture and mission, approachable leadership, opportunity to grow in the workplace, flexibility for balancing work and life and recognition.

When people of all ages and life stages may value the option to work a compressed four-day work week, an earlier or later start of the day, or the opportunity to work remotely, the flexibility is particularly important to parents. Online job board FlexJobs found that 84% of working parents said work flexibility is the number one most important factor in a job, with work-life balance a close second at 80%.

If we add the fact people leave or stay for their managers, not jobs or companies to this equation we’d need to establish approachable leadership model with remote leadership capabilities.

How to make sure “out of sight” does not lead to being left out

Harvard business review asked respondents to share positive stories and describe specific skills these managers practiced facilitating productive working relationships with remote workers. From over 800 informants, they identified seven best practice. 

  1. Check in frequently and consistently, don’t leave your remote employees alone; make sure you are in touch with them often
  2. Use face-to-face or voice-to-voice contact, make a visit to remote employees or schedule a mandatory in-office day once a week, month, quarter, or yea
  3. Demonstrate exemplary communications skill. Be a good listener, communicate trust and respect, inquire about workload and progress without micromanaging, and err on the side of overcommunicating
  4. Make expectations explicit it’s mandatory
  5. Be available go above and beyond to maintain an open-door policy for both remote and on-site employees
  6. Demonstrate familiarity and comfort with technology, don’t’ just resort to phone or email but tailor communication style and medium to each employee
  7. Prioritize relationships, good managers go out of their way to form personal bonds with remote employees.

Culture supporting approachable leadership

In my master’s degree thesis Identifying multi-locational work and distance learning capabilities in the team, I had a change to interview recently established companies where start up- mentality was grown to be a part of the culture. Companies trust their employees to make timely and good decisions. The aim is to give as much ownership of self-related issues as possible to employee.

Gsoft’s “trust by default” is what I see as approachable and entrepreneurial leadership. I believe good framework for leadership-model and supporting those 5 top values where I started comes from the concept of entrepreneurial leadership which Risto Siilasmaa was referring in his book Paranoid optimist.

But not all of us work in start-ups. Coming from a cultural background from micromanaging and highly authorial management people might feel that sudden change towards entrepreneurial leadership creates more anxiety than relief in the beginning.

Change takes time so don’t give up. Leading with an example is powerful tool. If you show that your life is more than just work, balancing is considered more acceptable, even desirable behaviour. If you genuinely care about others and the things happening around you prioritize both relationship and personal contacts which enables recognition. Ownership and responsibility are the great tools in an environment for giving an opportunity to grow. Facing the facts allows you to make room for failure which in some cases could be more informational than success and support approachable leadership.

Like mentioned in my earlier post, I believe If you hold a position in constantly changing industry, learning and updating your knowledge level should be part your job. So have an addiction to learn.

I admit, after discussions, research, articles and books about the entrepreneurship and being wife of an entrepreneur, I have become a believer of Entrepreneurial leadership.

Quoting Tapio Peltonen, founder of EEX “Every top leader should stay connected with entrepreneurship. Understanding key talents and continuous development of those entrepreneurial experts and leaders is paramount for innovation, organizational renewal and resilience.”

What do you think?