Leading Remotely

The increase in remote workers

From the course: Managing Skills for Remote Leaders

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Introduction


The increase in remote workers

A lot of managers even struggle with face-to-face management, but when you add in the complexities of virtual workplaces and remote teams, it's even harder. You can't just pop over and connect with your team. You can't look over your shoulders and answer ad hoc questions or have impromptu chats. That's all gone in a virtual workspace.

As a visionary, you need to create those opportunities and change your mindset from being a manager of tasks to a leader of people. More and more people are shifting to working remotely, joining global teams, and balancing work from home with personal lives. So it's imperative that managers shift their approach to better lead the organization and their teams to success.

I'm Dr. Mary Jean Vignone and I'm a leadership coach and business consultant and I've worked with many organizations from small non-profits to large corporations to help them navigate change and build more productive, high performing teams. I've managed virtual teams for nearly two decades and I can tell you that it's highly rewarding to see team members grow personally and professionally and exceed expectations in a virtual environment, but it's not easy. It takes effort and commitment to be an effective leader in a remote space.

In this course, I'll teach you how to be the best virtual leader you can be. I'll show you how to build trust with your remote employees, how to use your emotional intelligence to build relationships and empower others, and to give you methods for encouraging autonomy. I will give you strategies for effective virtual communication and demonstrate how to give constructive feedback, even in digital meetings. I'll offer methods for how to develop remote employees to allow them to grow, excel, and ultimately, feel good about the work they do. I want you to be a leader of truly engaged teams, whether they are working in the same building or not.

A virtual workplace can be a very enriching environment and truly rewarding for employees and leadership, but it won't happen organically. You need to create that virtual space as a leader. So if you're ready, let's get started.

Making The Transition


Are you a remote manager or leader?

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You're running a Zoom call with your team, and everyone is muted except the person speaking. You're looking at your team sitting there silently, and everyone's faces are small, no bigger than the size of a tennis ball, depending on how many team members are on the call. You start to notice their remote workspace, answer a quick email that might pop up as urgent, and all of a sudden you find that even you are having a hard time staying in the moment. Leading a team of employees is always challenging. In a virtual workspace, the challenges significantly increase. In this lesson, I want to help you overcome the basic challenges of leading employees in a remote workplace by shifting your mindset from how to manage in-person to how to lead virtually. Leadership is the key.

Adapting your style

There are volumes of books and an abundance of research on leadership style and theories. And ultimately, every leader has their signature leadership style and voice. But how do you adapt that to find your virtual leadership style and voice. In this lesson, I will share a few common styles, and how they can translate to your virtual leadership style. 

Building Trust Remotely


Developing trust with remote teams

Trust is the bridge that connects people and contributes to business success or failure. Your challenge leading in the virtual space is to build a bridge connecting people within a virtual environment. In this lesson, I want to share with you some ideas about how to build that bridge and create a trusting and safe work environment that feels authentic even when you're not connecting in person. 

Excelling as an authentic leader

We've all heard the word authentic, but what does it mean to be an authentic leader? In this lesson, I'm going to present ways that you can demonstrate your authenticity to lead in unpredictable times. To engender openness and understanding among your remote team. 

Emotional Intelligence Through A Screen


Self-awareness in a digital space

Your emotions are inherently a part of who you are. How you feel makes you, you. And generally that's a good thing. And being aware of your emotions you're able to express yourself in a positive way, even if your emotions aren't so positive. So how are you bringing your emotional self into your leadership role? In this lesson, I want to share with you how to enhance your self-awareness in the digital environment so that you're translating your emotional self into virtual leading. 

Managing stress and resilience

According to Hans Selye, "It's not stress that kills us, it's our reaction to it." Trying to meet aggressive deadlines, deciphering unclear expectations, anxiety around restructuring, adapting to new systems or new procedures, adjusting to a shakeup in management, having to learn new skills, adapting to budget constraints and new financial realities. These are all majorly stressful work-related events. And that can feel even more overwhelming and more isolating and difficult if your team is working remotely. During this lesson, I want to teach you how to manage stressful situations and help your team become more resilient to changes in unpredictable times. 

Fostering optimism in remote teams

 In the words of Bobby McFerrin, "Don't worry, be happy. "In every life, we have some trouble, "but when you worry, you make it double. "Don't worry, be happy." Optimism is a powerful tool and can help you immensely as an individual and as a leader and exhibiting optimism can have a positive ripple effect on your whole team. Think of the coach who didn't let one bad game ruin the whole season or the song that makes you feel there's brighter days ahead. That's optimism, and it's a key factor in motivating your teams, both in the office and remotely. In this lesson, I'd like to give you a few tips on how to use optimism to help you navigate any uncharted waters in leading your remote team. 

Forging strong remote relationships

In a virtual workplace, building and maintaining relationships is possible, but it's not organic as in-person settings. Just because if something is tricky doesn't mean that it's not worth it. In fact, it's even more important to spend time using your interpersonal skills in a digital environment to build and maintain relationships. In this lesson, I want to share with you some ways to use emotional intelligence skills to foster trust, motivation, and productive work connections in the virtual workspace. 

Tips For Virtual Leading


How to be present online

You must be present to win. You probably heard that statement while waiting to see who won the raffle at an event. Being present and in the moment is a proven method for productivity and creative thinking. Some people describe this as a state of flow. Your job as a leader is to be present and encourage your team to always be present as well even in a remote working environment. In this lesson, I want to walk you through my tips on how to be more present when you're leading virtually. 

How to keep remote teams focused

Did you know that according to researchers on the average workers are interrupted every three minutes and it can take up to 20 minutes to get back on track with what they were working on to begin with. During this lesson, I'll provide you with a few key strategies for keeping you and your team more aware and focused by reducing your internal and external interruptions and keeping everyone on track. 

How to communicate virtually

Virtual communication is not a new concept. It's been around for many years starting with the introduction of telephones, email, instant messaging and video conferencing. What is relatively new is how to communicate effectively to lead others in a remote environment. In this lesson, I will share with you some tips on how to make your communications more effective and impactful to lead your remote teams to success. 

Onboarding new remote hires

Remember your first day at a new job? You probably showed up at your new employer's building both excited and nervous. A manager or someone else met you and escorted you to your new office. Soon, you walked around the workspace and were introduced to coworkers. You may have received a plant for your office or an invitation out for lunch. Now think about starting the first day of remote work. There are no managers and no team members present to greet you. What a completely different experience. In this lesson, I will provide you with some strategies for effectively welcoming and connecting new hires who are starting remotely. 

Encouraging performance development

Both managers and their employees want to run for the hills when they hear it's performance review time. Managers, because of the tedious task of writing multiple long reviews, and being uncomfortable in addressing performance issues. Employees, because their anxiety increases as they brace themselves to hear about what they did wrong. Add on the virtual environment, it's even more complicated. It doesn't have to be that way if you approach performance conversations as professional development. In this lesson, I will give you some strategies for how to turn performance management tasks into productive performance development discussions that you can have virtually. 

How to provide feedback remotely

Feedback is absolutely critical in any organization and in virtual workspace. Feedback is one of the critical components of making sure that your employees are staying on the right track. In this lesson, I will share with you some strategies for providing feedback that will keep your remote team engaged and motivated. 

How to celebrate successes remotely

Nelson Mandela once said, "Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead." In this lesson, I'll offer you some tips on how you can celebrate the milestones and successes with your team to foster team building with remote employees. 

Conclusion


Creating your action plan

Well, you made it to the end of the course, and a virtual course at that. Congratulations. Now you should be able to effectively communicate with your remote employees, build a company culture that spans virtual workspaces, and continue to be an effective and inspiring leader, even through a screen.