The immediacy of one-to-one chat is particularly effective in executing personal leadership across a distance. While not completely duplex, it does offer a great venue to support immediate feedback and help ensure understanding. Resisting the temptation to start simultaneous chats with more than one person is important in executing distant personal leadership. It enables a less constrained senior-subordinate interaction and can further facilitate the development of trust.
5. Non-Traditional Feedback
One of the keys to indirect personal leadership is capitalizing on feedback that is available through other means of communication. The internet-enabled world around us allows a previously-impossible aggregation of data from multiple sources about the distant subordinate’s work environment and responsibilities. Information about things like their productiveness, their rate of work and the morale of their subordinate workers is, in many cases, available immediately.
6. Capitalize on Opportunities
In almost every case a distant leader will have intermittent opportunities to interact live with a distant subordinate. A quarterly meeting, a business trip to the subordinate’s location or a slight diversion from a trip elsewhere can make a real difference to the relationship. Recognize that this is an opportunity to communicate in the richest possible environment and leverage the occasion to expand your subordinate’s trust. Provide your subordinate with the best possible opportunity to gain insights, raise issues and understand the organization and team.
7. Make Them Part of the Team
Including the distant subordinate in the team is also a way to not only provide a stronger sense of group but also to provide alternate avenues of communication to the distant subordinate. Having the opportunity to ask “Just what did the boss mean?” of a peer is an important capability, providing an opportunity for clarity and a means to avoid disaster. The subordinates who work daily with you in a face-to-face environment have this opportunity; your distant subordinates should have the same chance.
8. Shared Success
One of the critical elements of providing effective personal leadership to a distant subordinate is to make sure, whenever possible, that the leader stresses the common goals that are shared by the team. People are motivated by reward and recognition as shared organizational and personal successes drive a sense of team.
Technology is expanding the tools available to leaders, opening new possibilities toward effectively leading and developing subordinates who do not spend each day interacting personally with their leader. Doing this effectively, however, requires awareness on the part of the leader of both the pitfalls and the tools and techniques of applying the “…leaven of true leadership.”
Have you found additional ways to better lead remote teams? Share your thoughts in the comments below.