By Zac Emery /ClickTime
The remote workforce is rapidly growing. It is estimated that remote workers will account more than the half of the U.S. workforce by 2020. The option to work remotely is not longer seen as an extra benefit but it is an option that the employees expect to have the same way they have the right to take a paid leave. Companies need to think how to adapt to the remote work trend if they want to attract and retain top talent.
Clicktime presents 5 effective types of Leaders for remote workers.
Being able to coach your team to success is vital in any workplace. But when distance factors in, the importance of this role is only deepened. The coach is someone who can take any team member and know exactly how to bring out their potential. This is more than just positive energy and encouragement. It’s being able to keep cool under pressure and help lead your team through a crisis. It’s being able to recognize what kind of feedback an employee needs to improve. It’s seeing the big picture and helping each member of your team do what needs to be done to bring that to fruition. Remote employees may have difficulty coming together as a team, but the coach can make it happen.
The idea of the “company evangelist” is nothing new. But in the context of remote employees, it takes on a whole new meaning and relevancy. A remote worker may struggle to see themselves as part of the team, as belonging to the company culture, since they are so far removed from the hub. This is when the evangelist shines; they excel in communicating the values and identity of a company, and how best to put those skills to work than in reminding remote employees that they’re part of something larger?
The Marathon Runner
Like we mentioned earlier, one of the big challenges that comes with the territory of remote teams is that sometimes your employees are in different time zones. Sometimes you can connect with them during working hours; sometimes you’re going to find yourself sending emails and texts or making Skype calls at some ungodly hour — and that’s after working a whole day at the office, too. For some the demands of working with people in different time zones is just a little bit too much, but not for the marathon runner. (The marathon, in this instance, is metaphorical. You don’t actually need to be an athlete — though if you are, hey, way to go!) This is the kind of person who can go all day and still have some fire left in them, and when it comes to managing remote teams, that fire is always an asset.
Communication is a key to success in any workplace. When your employees become decentralized, it’s no longer just a key — it’s make-or-break. The trouble is when employees have never met you, how do you make sure that they’ll feel comfortable coming to you when they run into problems? The confidant is someone who encourages communication, someone that team members feel good about talking to. This doesn’t mean you have to be there to answer every question at every time of day; after all, you have a job too. But it does mean fostering open and honest communication. Let your team know you’re there to help them succeed, and take the time to engage directly with them and ask them how their tasks are going and if they have questions or concerns.
Juggling your own responsibilities while also making sure that every employee — even those who work remotely — is on-task and on-schedule take dedication, organization, and attention to detail. For the type-A, their calendar is their best friend and their mobile phone is never out of arm’s reach. They’re never in the dark about what should be happening and when, because they take initiative to light their own way forward.
So when it comes to leading remote employees, which type of leader should you be? The truth is, no one is ever purely just one of these types, through-and-through. Maybe you’re the coach, with a little sprinkle of everything else thrown in; or maybe you’re a mash-up of the type-A and the marathon runner. And that’s a good thing! Being able to combine multiple styles of leadership into a unique hybrid that works for you is an asset, so long as you play to your strengths to ensure that you’re the best leader you can be.