Leading a remote team is a difficult, yet fulfilling venture. We face many challenges daily, including working across three different time zones and navigating a variety of communication styles. Yet we persevere with effective and efficient management. Our commitment to collaborate in a virtual world rewards us with diverse and global perspectives in our team’s work.
To build a high-performing remote team, leading with intention while building trust is essential. For our team, setting the right expectations, giving team members the right amount of autonomy, over-communicating, building trust, and encouraging new ideas enables us to be productive and cohesive. Let’s get started.
The first step in leading a high-performing remote team is to set the right expectations. Being clear about the team's initiatives and each member's role is key to achieving shared goals.
Next, set expectations for how the team will communicate and work together. Will team members be expected to check in with each other every day? How often will the team meet virtually? What tools will the team use to communicate? By setting clear expectations from the start, you begin to build confidence and direction together.
The second key to leading a remote team is to give team members the autonomy they need to be successful. Trusting them to do their jobs without micromanaging every move.
As you get comfortable with greater autonomy give your team the freedom to experiment and try new things. Do by providing clear guidelines, stepping back, and letting the team members figure out their own best path. Always make yourself available to support, deliver feedback, and guide. Leading teams with high levels of autonomy take incredible patience and understanding, but once you and your team get into a consistent rhythm, the rewards are endless.
High-performing remote teams are not possible without consistent, clear communication.. Be proactive in communicating with team members and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Keep the feedback loop open by listening to feedback and suggestions from team members. The best way to do this is to have regular team meetings where everyone can share their thoughts and ideas. Silent meetings and other meeting formats can be leveraged to create an environment where everyone gets to engage and share their thoughts.
Flexibility in communication is key, and work with your teams to communicate on their terms and leverage the manner of communication they are most comfortable with. This will open up the flow of communication and help to build trust — which leads us to the next point.
Building trust is essential. This means being transparent in your communications and decision-making. It also means being consistent in your actions and following through. Be as candid and open as possible at all times.
Spend time understanding your team, their goals, and their motivation. As a leader, the more time you spend helping your team to hit their goals, the more trust you will foster. Be their support, be their advocate.
It’s also important to make space for social interaction: This could be as simple as a few buffer minutes to start or end of every meeting, have a conversation, check in on their weekend, and spend that time getting to know your team.
Work together in collaboration. Various tools can be used to do this; we utilize Google Workspace at Rhino. Simplicity is key. Collaborating on a shared document does wonders for remote work and accountability.
By creating a habit of collaborative work, you are instilling a sense of accountability and responsibility in your team that will compound over time and produce world-class results.
Building a high-performing remote team takes time, effort, and patience, but the rewards are worth it. Think about implementing 1 or 2 of these practices into your day-to-day. We’d love to hear about your experiences!