How to Succeed in Remote Leadership


Entwickle Strategien für Führen auf Distanz

How to Develop a Strategy for Remote Leadership


New times call for new actions. Peter Drucker, one of the greatest management gurus from the USA, said, “The greatest danger in turbulent times is not the turbulence, but to act with yesterday’s logic.” Wanting to lead people who work remotely in the same way as those who work in the office is not effective. It requires different approaches. Here you will learn how to create the right conditions for successful remote leadership.

It is important to reflect on your attitude because your attitude influences your actions. Are you against remote work because you believe that employees can only perform well in the office? That they sit in pajamas in front of the computer, play with their children, or pursue their hobbies? Various studies show the opposite. For example, 85% of companies in the IWG Global Workspace Survey 2019 stated that productivity has increased “as a result of greater flexibility.”

No question – times of such change are always challenging. They require new behaviors and a reorientation because old patterns of behavior no longer suffice. However, if you consider the crucial points, something wonderful can emerge.


What to Consider When Developing Your Remote Strategy


Leading a team remotely requires you to develop a strategy for successful remote leadership. There are some challenges you should consider. When working remotely, natural contact is lost, and it needs to be initiated. And that has several perspectives:

Formal communication: How do you know what everyone is working on daily, where someone needs support, and where you need to promote or demand? How do you handle feedback, and how do you communicate performance status, new tasks, and your feelings?

Informal communication: When working remotely, chance encounters at the coffee machine, in the canteen, or in the corridor are eliminated. Informal exchange, which also enables shared learning, disappears. However, the need for emotional involvement in the team persists.

Isolation or loss of connection: If there is too little exchange, a vacuum of connection may arise, which can affect employee motivation. Employees feel abandoned and work alone. Connection is, however, one of the most important elements. Feeling part of the team is essential for team health and for avoiding misunderstandings and conflicts.

Visibility: When many people work from home, individuals’ performance is no longer visible. Perhaps you are the only one who still has an overview. That is why feedback processes as a team and in one-on-one conversations are extremely important.


Elements Your Strategy Needs


It may sound trivial, but it is not: as a leader, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees can work successfully. You should jointly set the standards; top-down is outdated. You can lead your employees through questions to reflect on, so that you come up with a solution together. The following questions should play a role:

  1. How will you communicate in the future?

  2. How do you give feedback?

  3. How do you communicate performance status?

  4. What team rules and standards do you want to develop together with your team?

  • Home office standards: What equipment do your employees have at home? Does everyone have the same equipment, or have some not dared to ask you about equipment? How is the home office area designed? Does the employee have the opportunity to work without interruption? Do they have enough space to work?
  • Internet connection: How stable is your employees’ internet connection? How is the bandwidth?
  • Online meeting standards: When do you schedule meetings? How often do you want to meet? Do you turn on the cameras during the meeting? What are the conversation rules? How do you create interaction?
  • Chat and email standards: When is each person available? How do you make this visible?
  • When is each person on break? And when can you expect your employees to be reachable again? If your company does not provide you with meeting software standards, agree on a common standard, as too much different software makes work ineffective.
  • Documenting results: Where do you want to document the results achieved in order to create transparency within the team? Do not fall into micromanagement, but focus on results!
  • Team building: How can you informally meet virtually?

With answers to these important questions, which suit you and your team, you create a solid foundation for your remote leadership strategy. If you want to know more and learn about the factors that successful remote leadership entails, I recommend my Remote Leadership online course specifically for leaders. Learn how to develop a solid remote leadership step by step. With engaging video content, proven tips, and concrete checklists to help you keep track of all the relevant details.

I wish you success with your strategy.

Debora Karsch


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