Five Traits of Highly Effective Remote Managers

by Jack Parodi 08/04/2020

As an immediate response to the Coronavirus pandemic, nearly 42 percent of the entire US labor force has shifted to working from home. This is a dramatic increase from the mere 5 percent of remote workers in 2018. Such a stark and rapid shift, essentially occurring overnight, is bound to wreak havoc on all aspects of your business operations, leaving remote managers reeling. If you’re feeling overwhelmed as a remote manager, you are not alone. Adjusting to remote totality can be intimidating. 

To help you more effectively manage remote teams, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best advice we’ve given or received throughout quarantine. Take a deep breath, do your best, and follow along to learn five traits of highly effective remote managers. For more expert advice, contact an Addison Group professional today!

They manage their remote team’s expectations.

Your team members are likely faced with as much uncertainty as you are during this transition. As a manager, they will look to you to set the tone. First and foremost, you must adequately manage their expectations. Be transparent with your team about what their goals, deadlines, and projects are. Thoroughly explain to them what adjustments you’re making, and why. Be sure to follow up when you say you will. 

Managing expectations applies to you and your own expectations as well. Set you and your team up for success and maximize remote productivity by clearly dictating all processes. 

Effective remote managers hold their team (and themselves) accountable. 

Let’s face it. When working from home, the temptations to do anything but work can be very strong. Tracking your team’s progress, and checking in as often as you say you will, is critical to remaining productive from home. 

Manage your remote team similarly to how you did when you were all in the office. It’s important to avoid losing any momentum or rapport you’ve built with your employees. Holding each other accountable, however, is not the same concept as “micromanaging.” Be wary of crossing that line. Keep in mind, that it is crucial for you as a manager to set the tone. Holding yourself accountable is the most effective way to demonstrate your leadership skills, and build a rapport with your team.

Avoid micromanaging their remote team.

As we stated above, avoid crossing the line into micromanagement. It is critical to trust your employees and to express that trust to them. Once you begin checking in with them on every single little task, your employees will naturally disengage. 

Not only does micromanaging damage the trust and morale of your employees, but it also stifles their growth. “Hand-holding” during this team will lead to a greater level of dependency amongst your team, preventing individual development. 

Respect your team, trust that they are capable to meet expectations. When productivity begins to slip, then you can consider intervening. 

Communicate. Then over-communicate.

Is there really such thing as over-communication? We don’t really think there is. 

Going hand in hand with managing expectations, clear communication with your team is critical during this time. Incorporate more check-ins with your team, allow them to reach out to you with any questions or concerns. Understand that for many, there can be a level of anxiety associated with sending a written communication, like chats or emails, as opposed to asking a question face-to-face. 

Inform your team that your lines are open, and be specific about when you have time to address anything that your employees bring up. Utilize the technology available to you to extend your communication efforts. 

Successful remote managers show empathy.

Everyone’s life has shifted one way or another over the last few months. The transition to remote work, managing child care, and loss of income, to name just a few, can be traumatic. Your remote team may now be balancing their full-time job, and homeschooling, or caring for a family member. The typical 9-5 may not be a reality for some. Be understanding

When necessary, you may need to be flexible about policies like work hours, or even the days that your team members work. Try to remember that nearly everybody is going through something right now. Eliminate any added stressors by showing flexibility and empathy when possible. 

Remote managers, keep this in mind.

This time and this pandemic is new territory for literally all of us. It’s ok to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing sometimes. But, it’s never ok to give up or settle for less than your best. Be gentle with yourself, keep this advice in mind, and be honest with your team. When the going gets tough, the tough call Addison Group.

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