In the Corporate world before covid struck it was common for Trainers like myself to work as part of a remote team spread across a wide area and managed remotely. Unless you are part of an on-site training team it is highly likely that you were part of a team dispersed across a wide geographical area.
At one time I was living and working on the South Coast of England whereas my Manager lived in Glasgow, Scotland hard to think of a greater distance in the UK .So it was entirely norma to be managed remotely and during my time working for a large corporate organisation I had a somewhat varied experience from some Managers who flourished and some who struggled to be effective with this remote management situation.
So, what did the successful remote managers do which the less-successful ones didn’t?
- Regular check-ins – Regular check-ins are vital for commiication , feedback and motivational and the trick is to make them motivational and notlike an interrorgation. Although each Remote manager arranged to have regular if not daily contact more often or not it was cancelled becasue “they had some more important to do” What kind of message does it give to your team when you inadvertenttly send the message that they are not important. Conversations with the successful managers were looked forward whereas the less successful managers calls were something to be avoided or suffered.
- .Focus on outcomes not hours worked– Working away and staying in Hotels can be soul destroying and my way of coping with this was open up my laptop in the evening and not only catch with emails and projects but to actually get ahead. Consequently, on my days in my office (not training) I had very little to do so I claimed back some of the additional hours I had worked and spent them with my family. This redressed some of the imbalance between work and personal life. Of course, grabbing back some of my time spent away and travelling was contingent on everything being up to date and this worked when my manager focused on my output not time at my desk.
- They encouraged an atmosphere of trust– The successful managers engineered a sense that they trusted and respected you , whilst the ‘less successful’ managers were obsessed with micromanaging every moment I worked.Being trusted is a powerful motivator whereas not being trusted works to demotivate staff. Accounting for every moment you work is soul destroying , energy sapping and above all time wasting.
Every organisation runs on the discretionary efforts of motivated staff going the extra mile and although a Micromanager convinces themselves that are controlling things for the better –they risk losing the goodwill and trust of their staff.
- Team Bonding- A sense of belonging to a team is really important. When retired people are asked what they miss about work the one thing the all say that they miss is their colleagues. Remote teams are a particular challenge when it comes to creating opportunities to meet and socialise, fortunately technologies like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and WebEx at least enable everyone to see each other. One successful manager held regular team meetings and combined this with a social event making it worth travelling many miles to get there.
Running a remote teams are routinely part of the role of Training Managers and how to do this is covered in my Accidental Training Manager Certificate course-want to know more -why not book a free call and discuss how I can help?