Remote working is no more a new concept. However, moving forward, it will change the workplace scenario. But when it comes to performance, remote workforce targets can be achieved through the right leadership development strategies.
Global Leadership Forecast 2021 report examined the responses from over 2,000 HR professionals and 15,000 leaders across the globe.1 The research states that the top challenges faced by CEOs include –
- Developing next-gen leaders
- Retaining and attracting top talent
- Upskillling or re-training employees
From the above stats, it’s clear that the real problem isn’t remote or in-house working for employee productivity. Rather it requires extensive leadership skills to engage remote workers in a way that they can deliver excellent performance. It is where leadership development strategies come into play.
Proven Strategies for Improved Remote Leadership
1. Use asynchronous communication for employees to ensure flexibility at work
Asynchronous communication means not all team members need to be present at exactly the same hour every day. It facilitates flexibility and helps maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, leaders need seamless collaboration between the teams and employees.
It is a wise decision to leverage basic asynchronous communication methods such as sending video recordings, voice notes, emails, forum posts, text messages, etc. Regularizing asynchronous communication is also crucial to ensure employees give replies within a specific deadline. In case of important meetings, team leaders may fix a specific time so that all the team members can manage things accordingly.
2. Take care of the mental health of your employees so that they can handle their job roles efficiently
If you want your team members to work dedicatedly and passionately towards achieving company goals, then it’s crucial to ensure the perfect mental health of the employees. Keep in mind that healthy teammates will handle the organization’s specific needs efficiently. And mental well-being isn’t limited to stress management. You also need to trust them and give them the space and freedom required to manage their duties. Remember, micromanagement isn’t a thing for leaders.
Besides, mental health support from the organization’s leadership also helps employees overcome the isolation, anxiety, and fear they sometimes face while working remotely. Conducting virtual wellness sessions of meditation, yoga, and other similar activities will benefit your team.
3. Use relevant tools for better team and project management.
According to Growmotely’s 2020 study, 74% of company leaders believe that remote work culture will run parallel to full-time work.2
Collaborative software makes it easy for the users to manage their work and lead the teams. Meeting software like Zoom and specialized tools like Slack have made remote working easy and helped in initiating seamless communication between the team members.
Furthermore, collaboration platforms like Trello ensure easy project and team management through advanced to-do lists, innovative boards, and cards. Team leaders can easily keep track of the tasks and accomplish their goals. Google Workspace, Jira, Zoho, Microsoft Teams, and Asana are some other brilliant options that come with a wide range of options for better leadership development for the remote workforce.
4. Maintain transparency and frequency when communicating to gain the confidence of people
Leaders should prioritize consistent communication for efficient management of the organizational processes. Also, communication is the key to keeping the employees/teammates well-informed about the latest work updates. It gives the leaders and teams the confidence that all the necessary actions are being taken to meet the interest of both businesses and people.
The team leaders need to ensure their teams can easily access and connect with them. Show interest in their input so that they can reach out to you as and when needed. Most importantly, it will help find real-time solutions for various concerns of the employees.
Provide answers to queries and share updates as transparently and quickly as possible. If you can’t provide every info, then direct the team members to any other relevant source that can provide appropriate information. In a nutshell, stay focused on your work and give your best to support your team. Remember, leaders, are the major gateway to info about company updates, processes, and policies for the teams.
5. Introduce strategies to keep team members motivated to deliver excellent work
Remote working increases isolation and reduces face-to-face candid interactions. Resultantly, employees become demotivated to handle the work to their full potential. Slowly the work quality starts depleting. Therefore, the leaders need to develop strategies that can keep the team members motivated. The simplest way to keep up their spirits is to recognize and acknowledge their work. Plus, provide them feedback to help them improve further.
Most importantly, take some time from your busy schedule to know their concerns. It will allow you to address their apprehensions and take the necessary measures in real-time. Avoid assigning monotonous tasks to the teams. Add variety to their work to maintain their interest in work. It’s also one of the best ways to help them learn new things.
6. Set accountability for all the employees
All the employees should be equally dedicated and invested in their work to make remote working a success. Enterprises can achieve their goals only if their employees are honest and passionate about achieving them. Accountability is important for leadership development and the management of teams.
Set deadlines for every task so that you don’t have to waste time prodding or poking the employees. A gentle reminder always works when team members and leaders are working remotely. Plan the workflow and assign the tasks according to the skills and capabilities of the people. It will also help you find the ones that aren’t consistent in their deliveries.
Remote working can create uncertainty at the work front if not managed properly. Leadership development strategies allow leaders to handle the challenges due to organizational changes. A strong and productive virtual team can be built by establishing two-way communication, setting clear expectations, and providing consistent feedback. Embrace new ideas, adapt and evolve, and don’t fear going through unchartered territories when finding solutions.