So, you think you’re a leader, do you? Maybe for the first time in your life, you are now going to be tested. The concepts of leadership have dramatically shifted. People with leadership responsibilities who have consistently flown under the radar shirking the real leadership role will now be exposed. Now, more than any other time in history, leaders will be needed. Real leaders will shine, and their team will prosper, and wannabes will severely be exposed.
Much of the shift has been with the forced growth of remote teams. Leading a team through video conferencing takes on some unique challenges. Many traditional leadership strategies still will work, but for them to continue to be effective, they will need to be improved. In the groundbreaking book, In Search of Excellence, author Tom Peters first introduced us to the concept of MBWA, Managing by Wandering Around. The idea was for leaders to spend their time listening to problems and the needs of their teams. They would do this by merely wandering around the office looking for a team member doing great work. While the tendency was for employees to run and hide when they saw the boss coming, with the MBWA concept, the idea was to get the team excited about seeing the boss and sharing their opinion.
In today’s environment, this paradigm has changed. It has moved from Managing by Wandering Around to Leading by Webcam. With remote teams, we cannot see them every day, but we can be there via video conferencing and instant video meetings.
A leader in the remote team environment must follow a few fundamental rules. In a previous blog, we discussed the BASICS OF REMOTE TEAM MANAGEMENT. Here I want to offer the basics of remote team LEADERSHIP. Whatever skills that you believe that you currently have will not be enough. So be ready. Here are a few additional ideas.
- Over Communicate: This is true for management or leadership. Your teams need to see you, and when they do, they had better understand you as a leader!
- Be Confident: What your team sees when they do see you is what will dictate their success. If you appear scared, not confident, not sure of goals and plans, the team will immediately pick up on it.
- Take Action: It’s easier to explain why you did something than why you did nothing. You don’t always have to be right. You’re human. If you make a mistake, admit it and then make corrections, but do something!
- Ask Your Team: Don’t make important decisions or try to solve tough problems on your own. Ask your team. Smart leaders today use the intellectual power of their organization. It’s a powerful tool to solicit and welcome input from the group.
- Stay Calm: Remember someone is always watching
- Be Decisive: You don’t have to be perfect, but you must be decisive.
- Prioritize Everything. If everything has the highest priority, then there is no priority. Prioritize all your team tasks and goals. Understand that if not completed, which jobs have the highest consequences. Go from high consequence tasks down to the lowest consequence tasks and then start at the top. Don’t have your teams doing things that have no meaning. Keep them busy with purposeful focus and a goal in mind.
There will be many more “adjustments” to how we lead remotely, but to be sure, start by using your webcam. Have frequent contact, and be sure always to be aware of your perception that you’re projecting. Is it a face of fear, or a face of possibilities, enthusiasm, and hope?
We are all under the microscope with these new challenges in leadership. Do you pass the test?