Leading Remote Teams

When COVID-19 hit, I felt really guilty.

People would ask how I’m doing, and I’d reply:

“I’m fine. I kinda feel like people have met me on my terms: Introvert, putting service over selling, marketing in a predominantly online world, and working digitally with remote teams. It’s like I’ve been training for this my whole life!”

The past few weeks, it’s felt like the world has kinda “caught up” on the things I’ve been doing for the past 20 years.

And it’s been really interesting seeing people making mistakes, and learning lessons along the way.

The biggest one I’m seeing is getting your own work done while also leading your team.

People are ending their days exhausted from “Zoom Fatigue”.

They’ve spent the entire day in teleconferences, and helped all their team members… But have failed to get any of their own work done.

The big issue here is that people are using “physical office” leadership skills to try and manage a “digital office” distributed team.

Physical office strategies (like making sure people are present, attentive and energised) work great in person.

But when even ONE person in your team is working remotely, they start to fall down. Silos get created. People fail to share information effectively. Projects fall down. People become disengaged. Nobody knows how to do their work well anymore. Etc.

(You also typically end up with two tiers of teams – the “local” team and the “remote” team – and a perception that the “remote” team isn’t capable of everything the local team can do.)

According to the experts, we’ve got up to 2 years of social distancing ahead. For years, people have been saying they want more remote and flexible working opportunities. And now that they’ve all had a taste of it, I think few are going to be willing to go completely back to the “old ways”. So I think leading remote and distributed teams is here to stay.

The good news is – if you get the pieces right – you end up with a far more effective outcomes from a distributed team than a physical team.

As an example, about 18 months ago I was invited to work with a client who had a large remote team – initially in a marketing capacity, and then later in a leadership role, managing and elevating their entire remote operation. And doing all this in 2 days a week, while also running my own company’s team, and my own thought leadership practice, and delivering on key marketing projects for other clients, and publishing my 2nd book.

I realised then that what seemed obvious and intuitive to me (having spent 20 years working from home, and in remote and distributed teams) wasn’t obvious or intuitive to other managers and leaders.

Things like how to empower people to effectively read your mind and pre-empt your decisions, taking ownership for key pieces of strategy.
Or how to avoid endless meetings, and still have an engaged team.
And how to master technology in a distributed team, rather than becoming a slave to it.

I’d love to show you some of the key strategies I use.

And that’s why I’m collaborating with Georgia Murch (the incredibly intelligent author of “Fixing Feedback”, and an expert in team collaborative cultures) on a “Friday Booster Shot” titled “Distributing the load with your remote team”.

Here’s where to register.

I’d love you to be there if you can make it.

If you’re managing a distributed team today – or have been running a distributed team for a while – I think you’ll be able to fill your notepad with ideas to help you to have more impact with less stress.