Today as I was having my private coaching session (using coach in a box, I must say that it did add value!), Eileen asked me “what would be your top tips on how to manage people remotely?”. As I was answering, I made a note to myself to blog it too, so here it is:
Remote Management Tips
- Grab the phone!
- Double your efforts on Goal Setting
- Define a clear vision and values for the team
1. Grab the phone
It is too tempting to write emails, or write instant messages. My rule with the team is to always follow the sequence:
- Talk directly over the phone
- If not possible, then send an instant message
- If not possible, then write an email
Also, leverage today’s technology and add visuals! A few years ago, I bought webcams to all my team members, and we were then using google hangouts for our weekly team meetings. It was much more exciting and interactive to be able to see each other, and we got more things done.
Another thing: I encourage my team to leverage text messages much more. They can send me a SMS anytime, either to let me know that they need to work from home that day, or that a meeting is not going well, or that they need to talk to me urgently.
The bottom line for a manager is to ensure that their people feel comfortable in grabbing the phone to talk to them when they need to.
2. Double your efforts on Goal Setting
The # 1 driver of engagement in the Gallup Q12 survey is: “I know what is expected from me at work”. So your job as a remote manager is to make the extra effort of clarifying the WHAT and the HOW for each of your direct reports. Make sure that you agree on their goals early on, and then setup recurring goals review to ensure the documentation remains valid, accurate and up to date.
Extra tip: I would recommend that you give the accountability to your direct reports to update their goal trackers and lead the goals review session with, it puts the accountability back on your team members and ensures you that you have been able to engage them and that you provided sufficient clarity.
I mentioned the HOW: it is at least as important as describing the WHAT. Especially when you manage managers, most goals will be difficult to measure and the only way to reach an understanding of what is expecting from your staff is to describe the attitude, the behaviour, the approaches you are expected them to take when facing issues / requests / opportunities.
Finally, make sure you also create a team goal tracker, there is nothing more powerful to engage a team than having every individual contribute to the overall success of the team.
PS: If you are looking for concrete examples of Goals trackers, I should be able to share some with you, just contact me directly (email@example.com)
3. Define a clear vision and values for the team
By definition being a remote manager means that your chances to interact with your team directly will be limited. This is why VISION and VALUES are so critical: it is your only chance to remain present in your team’s mind when they are working and making decisions.
Your vision is good if it allows your team members to make a decision on their own as to what they should prioritize on a daily basis.
Your values are well defined if they allow each of your team member to fully understand the behaviors that define the team, that they clearly know what approach to take to be aligned with your expected attitude, mentality, and approach to key stakeholders.
This is an example of the values we once described with my team:
Guiding stakeholders towards accelerated value creation, Pro-actively optimizingour model, Building an engaged, high performing and role modeled team
“Management by objectives works if you first think through your objectives. Ninety percent of the time you haven’t.”
For more information, check out my full training course on People Management and Corporate Leadership.
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment, I will respond!