5 Keys to Lead Successful Remote Teams from Your Desk

When leading teams remotely, it's important that your teammates or employees feel empowered and can make decisions.

Working effectively
 Min read
May 12, 2023

Remote working is going to be the new normal soon. 16% of US companies are fully remote, which will grow year over year.

Despite its rapid growth, many team leaders face technology, time zone, and communication differences that stand between them and their team. 

But it doesn't mean that leadership is impossible. On the contrary, if you have the right tools, processes, and mindset, you can make remote teams awesome.

We've got some tips for you on how to lead remote teams effectively in 5 ways:

  1. Mastering remote communications
  2. Empowering teammates to make decisions
  3. Role modeling the behaviors you want to see in your team
  4. Helping your team focus better and longer
  5. Understanding the shared culture among your team members

So let's get right on to it. 

5 Ways To Lead Remote Teams Effectively

1. Be A Master Of Remote Communications

It's an understatement to say communications is the soul of a team. 

With effective and efficient communications, everyone is motivated, productivity soars, and strong relationships are formed. In fact, 85% of employees feel the most motivated when leadership regularly updates company news. Even better, 80% of American employees believe communication is key to developing trust.  

Even if you're leading remotely, you too can communicate effectively with your remote teams by following the 3 strategies below:

  1. Give clear instructions. Remember to remove unnecessary verbiage from content and to review your communications as a team to ensure everyone writes clearly and concisely. 
  2. Be supportive and positive in the way you communicate. It's important to maintain a friendly, engaging tone, which will encourage your coworkers to stay up-to-date with events happening in the company.
  3. Use the fewest amount of words possible to relay your message effectively. The less time someone spends time reading your text, the less information fatigue your coworkers will experience.

Some of the popular remote team communications tools are Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, ClickUp, Google Suite, and many more.

Clear communication will allow for a quick understanding of what needs to be done so that both parties can work together as efficiently as possible!

2. Give Teams The Power To Make Decisions

When leading teams remotely, it's important that your teammates feel empowered and can make decisions. This can instill greater trust in leadership, boost their motivation–leading to greater creativity, increase their willingness to put in extra effort in the job by 67%, and improve employee retention. 

There needs to be a clear understanding of what is expected from them regarding their workload. Share a visual workflow so everyone can see where tasks are at all times. 

Another action you can take to empower your team members is by providing mentorship. Spend 30 minutes to an hour a week to coach and mentor a team member to ensure they have the tools and strategies to work smarter and better.

3. Be The Change You Want To See

Leading remote teams can be difficult because you don't have the same visibility as other managers working in a physical location. 

One way to overcome this is to lead by example, so others see what you want them to emulate. 

First, strive for personal development—never stop trying new things. Learn a new skill, language or how to be a better remote worker, read a book, listen to podcasts, watch educational YouTube videos, meditate, and many more. 

Another critical strategy is role modeling the culture you want to have, which will set up expectations for your team members. If you want your teammates to be friendly yet professional during meetings, show them how it looks like by being one. Showing how to behave is the most critical factor influencing accountability, says 84% of employees

Leading remotely does not mean guiding from afar; instead, it means sharing knowledge, guidance, and being accessible when needed. 

Remember, when it comes to leading remote teams effectively, guide rather than dictate. Allow your teammates' input into the projects where they can shine in their own ways.

Finally, always remember to share a smile :)

4. Offer A Laser To Their Focus

How do you help your team focus when you can't even see them?

Well, first of all, a great way to ensure your team members are on top of their game is by establishing a community of accountability

This means that you and your remote employees are mutually accountable for one another's work. You can do this by having regular calls with them, or as often as they need it. 

In this way, if someone finds themselves overwhelmed with their workload or feels like they're struggling to get anything done, it's not just them who has to feel the pressure—there's a whole group who is watching out for each other! 

Tip: Are you finding it difficult to focus while working remotely? Learn these 5 unconventional tips to improve focus and concentration

Next up: Help your employees manage time and manage their workload—especially when they're having a bad day. After all, feeling like they have more control makes people happy too. 

And finally: Show what's expected from employees (sharing a weekly timeline) and listen to them when they share feedback about how you can help make things easier on them. Not only that, you can give supportive feedback or adjustments where needed—this will increase overall team productivity and build trust within your team.

5. Understand What Culture Your Team Embodies

Before we get to the details, what do we mean by 'team culture'?

It means your team's prevailing attitudes, beliefs, customs, and practices. It can also mean shared values and principles which shape their attitudes and behaviors. 

One way to know a remote team's culture is by finding out what motivates them

For example, if someone's primary motivation is money, they are likely to be motivated by money and things that can make them more successful in their work. If someone strives for recognition or success through their work, this person will want credit and one-on-one time with managers and colleagues. 

One great way to determine what motivates them is through surveys where employees can answer questions about themselves anonymously. 

Another option is to find out their goals and see if they're being met. This will give you an overview of how they feel about their work environment. For example, if they are meeting all their goals but not feeling motivated, it's time for some change in the company.

These details may not only give you an idea about how your remote employees would respond on surveys but also let them know you care enough to take the time to get to know them personally, which helps foster trust and commitment from

Read this: On top of helping your team thrive, you also need to be at the peak of your game. Learn how these 5 work-from-home best practices can set you up for success

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