Managing a team remotely presents a unique set of challenges for leaders. Tom Merritt lists five ways remote leadership is different.
Being a leader is tricky under normal conditions and, as we know, things don’t always stay normal. What do you do when a large part of your workforce has been working remotely for the first time, for months on end? A study carried out pre-pandemic in the Journal of Business and Psychology found some interesting things about virtual team leaders. Here are five things that are different about remote leadership.
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- Remote leaders tend to be achievers. The people in the study chosen as leaders were most often chosen because of what they did, not traits ascribed to them.
- Charm is less powerful. Leaders who rely on their interpersonal skills will need to adapt. Remote work removes some of the power of personality.
- Be goal focused. Without a presence to inspire the troops, leaders need to show they know where the team is going–that way, when they’re not around, the team doesn’t wonder what the purpose is.
- Connect people with help. It’s wonderful to be able to drop around and see how everyone is doing. Remote leaders can’t do that, so teams seem to value those who are able to connect them with help and resources they can use on their own.
- Plan. Remote teams seem to respond well to leaders who have a plan, share the plan, and keep an eye on upcoming tasks.
Doers of the world love this study–of course it’s not the final word, but it can help confident, personality-based leaders understand that the needs of their team have changed. That can help smooth out more of the rough spots.
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