Keys to Leading Your Remote Teams

As the pandemic continues to disrupt life and business, it remains unclear how long people will have to work from home. For companies that are unused to supporting a remote workforce or even doing most of their work digitally, this poses a range of new challenges.

January 28, 2021 – Working remotely is not about being tech-savvy or having the right tools, according to a recent report by executive search and leadership consulting firm Alder Koten. Rather, it is more about being effective as a team when employees are not in the same building. It is about achieving communication and coordination without being in front of each other. “Most importantly, it is about the clarity of expectations and accountability so we can make independent decisions and judgments,” said the search firm.

Alder Koten offered some key suggestions to consider in leading your remote teams. First among them is to listen. We know great leaders are great communicators. “So communicate and lead,” said the recruiter. “But first, listen. Pay close attention to yourself every time you are conversing with someone remotely.” Are you paying attention to him or her? Are you keep checking your mobile for new text messages, emails, tweets, or statuses? Are you showing disinterest, like sighing or checking the time repeatedly?

The firm said that the best way to stay focused and increase your listening awareness is to use video communication instead of chatting, texting, emailing or calling. “The technology is there, so use Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Facetime,” the firm said. “Look people in their virtual eyes and truly connect.”

Mind Your Environment

In a busy and noisy environment, no one can listen well. Alder Koten said it is “simply impossible and easy to recognize. Whenever the noise and privacy level of the environment changes, find a quiet place. Removing physical distractions is crucial for a good listening session to occur.”

The most critical component of leading, and not just managing a remote team is to be effective in communicating goals, deadlines and responsibility, not tasks, said the Alder Koten report. “You will go crazy if you try to control someone else’s time and supervise their tasks remotely,” the search firm said. “Spend your energy in making sure expectations are aligned and understood. Don’t just broadcast your expectations. Have your team repeat and paraphrase what everybody expects from them.”

Related: Virtual Encounters of the Best Kind

“Eventually, these tough times will pass, and we will all be free to go back to work in our offices,” said Jose Ruiz, chief executive officer of Alder Koten. “Hopefully, we will go back with a new way of interacting and with an increased level of collaboration that will help us be more effective and productive.”

Alder Koten helps clients acquire, develop and transition leadership talent through a combination of research, executive search, cultural and leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services, which include career planning, outplacement, coaching and leadership training. The firm has offices in Bogota, Dallas, Guadalajara, Houston, Mexico City, Monterrey and New York.

Mr. Ruiz is involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures. An important part of his time is spent on research work focused on organizational effectiveness centered on leadership and culture. His professional experience also includes leadership positions in engineering and operations management for manufacturing organizations in the U.S. and Mexico.

Related: Working Virtually Keeps Everyone Safe and Productive

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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