By Freelance Contributor | Strong Female Leaders | Reading Time: Five Minutes
The internet has changed the way we work. Even before the pandemic, we started to move our operations to a remote setting to save money and enhance our workforce. As knowledge professionals, and especially after the pandemic, we have realized our abilities to operate fully remotely. From handling customer-facing issues, creating new products and services, and maintaining the company's operations, remote teams have proven to be highly effective. Innovative organizations such as Twitter, Salesforce and Github are changing their in-person policies to either fully remote or hybrid. These types of functional models would require a new breed of leadership. The business world continues to move to a virtual universe. Even if you are not leading fully remote teams quite yet, chances are you will. Today's article will help you become a more effective remote leader, so your confidence grows both online and in person.

1. Think About The Advantages
Yes, you miss getting together in a meeting room to conduct face-to-face conferences. However, it's not necessary to do this. Overall, there are several advantages of remote teams.
First, they save time on their commute. Thus, they have more energy to be productive and contribute ideas to the group. Second, they avoid the distractions of the office environment like non-work conversations. Again, this helps them focus on the job at hand.
2. Search For Top Talent Across The Globe
Another advantage to remote teams is you're able to hire top talent across the globe. You have the capacity to select candidates with strong skills and subject matter expertise in your field. Yet, to lead remote teams with this talent you must ask the right questions during the interview process.
A recent trend to analyze a candidate's potential is to have them complete an assessment or small assignment. This provides an opportunity to see how well they do on a deadline.
During the interview process don't leave anything out. Give them all the information about the job, their role, and what they should expect. Leading questions and their responses determine if they're the right person for your team.
3. Establish Communication Guidelines
Clear and ongoing communication is critical to lead remote teams. Without the means of physical gatherings, your group gets their knowledge from you. Furthermore, they need a means of communication among themselves to complete tasks.
Generally, you must have an "open door" policy at all times. In other words, you need to remain online during normal operating hours. Plus, your team needs proper methods to contact you if there's an emergency.
On top of this, create a schedule of regular meetings well ahead of time. Particularly if you lead remote teams working on various projects. If an issue prevents you from holding the virtual meeting, then immediately reschedule. This avoids team members feeling ignored by you.

4. Frequently Check In With Your Team Members
We understand that your schedule is busy with meetings and projects. Having said this, don't neglect your remote team members. After all, they're the ones that complete your assigned tasks. However, their productivity could slip if they feel their work or issues aren't addressed.
Check in frequently with your members. It doesn't have to be every day. Once a week works for regular team meetings and one-to-one discussions. Leave the former to address general progress and issues. The latter is meant to dole out praise and provide any positive criticism to help the employee move forward.
Overall, listen to your team members. You have to remember they rarely have physical face-to-face time with you. Therefore, if you really listen to what they say it helps triggers a productive conversation. Whether it's to introduce a new idea or express the position's frustration, a back-and-forth where you and the team member both listen works to resolve issues.
5. Avoid Micromanagement
There are two types of management styles. Authoritative supervision is a positive form where you are in charge but also willing to hear out your team members. On the other hand, authoritarian management nearly eliminates any autonomy by team members. It also results in micromanagement.
It's difficult not to fall into the second form when you manage remote teams. You don't know what they're doing on their own time. So, you constantly interrupt their progress with status updates. Plus, when something goes wrong, you immediately blame the team for the problem.
If you see this happening, then take a step back and reevaluate your management style. If necessary, apologize to your team members and discuss ways to improve your mutual relationship. Then, read up on the best ways to be a firm but lenient supervisor.
6. Use A Variety Of Collaboration Tools
Though they were available before the pandemic, collaboration tools gained popularity when organizations moved to a remote environment. Today, these are more prominent than ever to help increase productivity among your team members. Thus, maximizing their potential is a good idea.
Here are some examples of regularly utilized collaboration tools. Email: This is still a good source for collaboration since you have the potential to send project materials as attachments. However, your team members get so busy that they don't regularly read their emails. So, if you must send out material, make sure it's delivered in different ways. Instant Messaging: This form of collaboration is better for instant communication. It permits you to gather your teams in different segments to deal with any issues. Plus, many IM programs now have an option to attach documents and other materials to a conversation. Thus, everyone is on the same page for a project. Video Conferencing: Holding a video conference has an advantage over the audio version of a meeting. It allows everyone to see each other. Plus, you have an option to show presentations related to team projects.
7. Implement Productivity Tools
By productivity tools, we mean applications that help everyone see the same information. For instance, software to track the sales process from cold call to purchase. Not only do these tools keep the information organized. They also minimize the risk of miscommunication between teams.
For instance, a customer relationship management (CRM) application allows team members to enter every client transaction and communication. Should the main contact be offline, another team member has the ability to pick things up for them.
Another productivity tool is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. This package ties the data of several departments into customized modules viewed by all team members. Thus, they track inventory, deliveries, invoices, and payments. Additionally, they're alerted to issues within these different areas.
8. Track Productivity Time
Tracking the time your team members are active isn't spying. Rather, it's a way to measure what they do when they're at work. Plus, they have the opportunity to their own statistics to measure their remote productivity.
Choose a time tracking tool with options like: The ability to track time on individual tasks. Compile information to produce reports for management and team members. Alert you to potential time obstacles to find ways to minimize them.
Parting Thoughts
With this information on hand, you have the power to develop more accurate project estimates. On top of this, you're able to reallocate resources to intensive tasks.
Needless to say, there's a great deal of information gathered here to effectively lead remote teams. Don't take it on all at once. If so, then you'll overwhelm both yourself and the team.
Strip everything down to the basics. Next, step into the virtual shoes of your employees to see how it looks from their end. This should provide a better idea of what's required to be an effective remote team manager.
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