Imagine your ideal remote team!
My ideal team is consistent, engaged, creative, and
I thrive on remote teams, but time and time again people tell me they struggle. And not just older folks (after all, I’m one of those), but people of all ages, even your generation find working virtually with a remote team challenging.
Does this sound familiar? You emailed your remote team or
posted on the message board, and there is nothing but TOTAL SILENCE. The
deadline is looming, people committed to do the work, and you are now, for what
seems like the millionth time, deciding whether or not to just do it yourself.
Or do you make a last ditch effort to get a response from your team?
Remote teams usually start with lots of promise; there is a
great group of motivated professionals who are excited to work together and tackle
the task at hand. But somehow it seems that one or two people, if not most of
the team, lose interest, begin to miss meetings, stop engaging, and leave the
few with the lion’s share of the work. I know because it has happened to me.
I’ve been working on remote teams for more than a decade now
with teams that have crossed international borders and various industries and
sectors. It was difficult for me in the beginning, not because the team wasn’t
engaged, but because I wasn’t engaged. As an extrovert, it was difficult for me
to express myself online, and be patient for a response. But over the years,
I’ve not only learned to be more effective working with remote teams, but to
help my teams be more engaged and productive.
Many leaders and teams make the same fatal mistake, they
assume everyone is on the same page and knows how to effectively work on remote
teams. But the truth is, working virtually with remote teams is a skill.
I hear people say all of the time that it isn’t possible for
remote teams to be as effective as teams that work together in person. But that
isn’t always the case. Productive and successful teams have to be on the same
page, whether they are working remotely or all together in the same physical
space. But it is even more critical for remote
teams because they may not have the benefit of connecting with each other face
to face to brainstorm, hold one another accountable, and course correct.
So how do you get your team on the same page?
There are 5 Steps to Real Leadership, the second step is to
imagine a shared vision with your team. This is an essential step to ensure you
and your team is on the same page and invests and equally contributes to
creating and realizing a shared vision.
Let’s face it, even the most self-directed ambitious
professional can become easily disengaged working on a remote team.
When you work remotely:
- There will always be a delayed response.
- Innovation and collaboration require intention, patience, and creativity.
- We prioritize what is right in front of us.
- Introverts may flourish, while extroverts may retreat.
Don’t take anything for granted. When you are leading a
remote team, these are factors that have to be considered. But that isn’t enough.
When a team comes together for the first time, even if you
all know each other and have worked on other projects, real leaders have to:
- Establish a shared vision
- Create community agreements
- Develop an action plan
What is a shared
A shared vision is
a vision that is co-created with leaders and their team that is built upon
their shared values, interests, and purpose for the organization, team, or
project. A shared vision provides a sense of purpose and direction, and is
designed by the team, not imposed by the top. This helps to increase the team’s
level of engagement and commitment to the vision because they are equally invested
in realizing it.
Establishing a shared
vision does not take a lot of time! It can be done in as quickly as 15 minutes
just by asking a few key questions. And it is also possible to spend hours or
even days developing a shared vision, it is entirely up to you as the leader to
What are Community
Community Agreements are specific behaviors (how we expect each other to act) the team
creates and agrees to in order to foster a work environment that helps them achieve
the shared vision. Remote teams will want to consider creating agreements
around the following topics:
- Use of Technology: Which platform is the primary
platform, what are other tools used for, ie when do we call, text, Whatsapp etc
- How much time do people have to respond to
- How long of an absence can be forgiven?
- What is the procedure when someone is unable to
complete a task?
- Is there a chain of command for decision making?
- Documentation: What? Where? How?
- How does the team manage and resolve conflict?
What is an Action
An action plan is simple, but rarely done! It is a document, a shared document, that outlines the teams goals, tasks, milestones, and deadlines. You may have an action plan, but it is likely that it could be more specific. To help, I’m giving you a FREE ACTION PLAN TEMPLATE for you to use with your team. It is part of the Real Leadership training materials designed to help teams not only create a shared vision, but deliver it.
It is possible
for your remote team to be both engaging and productive. Whether it is you or
your team, or both, that are struggling to feel engaged know that this can be
remedied by taking these three easy steps.
If you want to know more about creating a shared vision with your team, or the 5 Steps to Real Leadership visit www.leadershipabq.com. Real Leadership Live 2019 will be Ma 2-4 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.