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November 20, 2014

Building Strong Remote Leadership

Business

Jeff Cochran

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Many businesses are offering flexible work arrangements or completely remote capabilities. With this, a need arises for different recruiting, training, and leadership skills. Remote leaders are responsible for creating a common vision everyone can follow, allowing for team cohesion even at a distance. From providing remote negotiations training to conducting company-wide sales training, remote leaders inspire unity when adhering to four specific rules.

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Set Clear Expectations 

As opposed to working in a physical location, remote employees are scattered throughout the country (and perhaps the globe). To keep everyone on the same page, remote leaders must establish a set of clear expectations. While performing individual tasks is the responsibility of the employee, leaders are expected to clearly outline the following:

  • Work hours. When a team works remotely, it’s important to get everyone on the same page regarding expected work hours. If employee improvement, such as negotiations training, must take place, clearly specify when trainings are held.
  • Regular meetings are essential to keep communication flowing. Establish expectations for company meetings, including when they will take place, the protocol for missing a meeting, and recurring topics to be discussed.
  • Leading from afar requires confidence in a team member’s ability to work independently while meeting productivity goals. Remote leaders are responsible for setting clear guidelines outlining expectations.

Don’t Hide Behind the Screen

Being available to remote employees is one of the best ways to keep workers engaged, motivated, and informed. When leading a team of remote employees, don’t hinder your availability by hiding behind the computer screen. Particularly when conducting sales training, leaders need to be accessible to workers to address questions and concerns. If time constraints are a concern, establish set hours of availability during which employees can contact you and receive a prompt response.

Leverage Technology to Facilitate Training

Most companies operating a remote workforce lack the option to conduct business free of technology. Between collaborative online tools, productivity tracking programs, and digital communication, technology is the conduit that facilitates ongoing dialogue, training, and employee improvement. Use digital solutions that bring remote employees together and increase access to members of your leadership team.

Extend Trust and Confidence to Employees

All employees benefit when leaders extend trust and confidence in their abilities. When managing remote teams, it’s important to clearly communicate this level of trust. Provide remote employees with confidence-boosting compliments, but don’t stretch the truth. Focus on an employee’s strengths and how those strengths contribute to the company’s goals, and offer positive feedback on recent projects. Communicating your belief in an employee’s abilities will inspire them to work harder to reach established goals.

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