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How to Make Remote Managers Successful
Here are six steps managers can take to build happy and productive remote teams.
- Create communication guidelines.
Managers should begin the "virtual work" process by outlining standard communication practices for the team. These guidelines should include topics such as:
- Which communication channels to use — e-mail, phone, written reports — and when to use them.
- How to use each channel — such as when to include all team members on a message, or how to signal that a message does or does not require a reply.
- What are acceptable and unacceptable uses for each channel — for example, don't use virtual bulletin boards to post jokes of the day.
- Outline reporting practices.
Managers and their teams will need to find the right balance between keeping each other updated and not becoming a communication burden. Leaders should outline their expectations for how often they will receive work updates from their teams and how detailed those updates should be.
- Manage by objective.
Supervisors who measure productivity by how late employees stay at work will need to change their management approach when working remotely. Instead, it's helpful to establish a list of concrete objectives that each team member needs to accomplish. One way to do this is through a task list for each employee. It's also important for leaders to help employees prioritize their work each week so that the most critical tasks are tackled first.
- Provide feedback.
Teams working remotely for the first time need to reinforce helpful team behavior and address problems directly. Letting others know about what's working and what's not will prevent staff from settling into bad habits. Don't overlook the importance of letting team members know when a particular problem has been addressed effectively.
- Schedule regular performance reviews.
Remote worker management doesn't mean out of sight, out of mind. It's critical to schedule regular performance reviews for virtual employees to keep them apprised of their performance. It's also effective for gaining their feedback on how the distance relationship is working for them. Look to schedule performance reviews at least once a year.
- Hold occasional face-to-face meetings.
Today's technology tools make working as a virtual team almost the same as being in the same office. Every so often, however, managers should meet in person with staff members to reaffirm relationships. Face-to-face meetings let employees know that they're important to the business. That can further cement solid, productive working relationships.
Myron Curry is President and CEO of BusinessTrainingMedia.com a leading corporate training and development company based in Encino, California. Myron has over 20 years of successful management and business development experience. He has worked with leading fortune 500 companies and has written numerous articles. You can contact Myron at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his company's web site www.businesstrainingmedia.com