When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, the majority of businesses changed to a fully virtual setup. For some companies, this was always going to be a temporary thing. Two years later, many companies are returning to the office if they haven’t already, but many have chosen to stay virtual. While many leaders have slowly adapted to virtual leadership throughout the pandemic, there will always be leaders who will be new to it. Whether you’re switching from in-person leadership to virtual, or you’re a brand new leader whose first leadership experience will be with remote teams, it’s important you understand how to approach it. Read on for a few tips for leading a remote team.
Communication Is Key
Communication is important in all leadership positions, but even more so when leading a remote team. In an office setting, it’s easy for your team to walk up to your desk and ask you a question, or get your assistance with something. This isn’t the case when you’re working virtually. Employees may feel like they’re bothering you if they have to constantly send you messages throughout the day, or you may not even notice that you’ve received a message. Virtual teams also leave things more open for misunderstanding, as you’re not always having that face-to-face interaction with your team. This is all especially important when you have a new hire, who could feel lost in their new role and aren’t sure how to approach you when working virtually.
Trust Your Team
While communication is important, too much of it can be detrimental. In today’s professional world, most people can manage their goals and tasks without a third party watching over them. Constantly asking for updates can become daunting for your employees and even make them feel like they’re not doing enough. Trust your employees to do their jobs and manage themselves, and they’ll be happier and do better work. If you trust them to get their work done when in person, you shouldn’t treat them any differently because you can’t physically see them.
Create A Virtual Culture
Creating a virtual culture is also important, as it allows a team to connect and collaborate virtually. Just like an in-person team, a remote team is still able to meet and have fun, and it can often be integral to success. If your team just logs on each day, does their work, and logs off, they won’t really feel like a team. They’re instead more likely to feel like they’re just getting up to mark off a checklist of tasks each day. Encourage virtual team lunches or brainstorm fun activities you can all do together from the comfort of your homes. This leads to more team-building opportunities in an otherwise very secluded work environment.