In our last post, we covered logistical strategies for communicating with team members working from remote locations. You want to be clear, effective and maximally productive. Today, we’ll continue along the lines of that theme and review strategies to build strong relationships with your remote team members. Just because they’re out of sight doesn’t mean they should be out of mind or left to their own devices. Follow these tips:
1. Get to know the team.
Comfort is key! You need to talk about more than just the nuts and bolts of your operation. Within reason (and the bounds of civility), share jokes, share moments, and cultivate empathy. Yes, there will be limits in terms of how much you can make a remote team “gel.” But as WPBeginner entrepreneur Syed Balkhi puts it, “your remote workforce will only work as a collaborative unit when every team member trusts and respects their co-workers.”
Consider scheduling events to meet up in one location – a company sponsored dinner or holiday party, for instance. If your remote team members are too far apart and/or swamped to meet regularly, sponsor an annual retreat for your team, instead. While spending time together, incorporate recreational activities along with some team-building exercises.
2. Take stress out of the equation.
When you are stressed, you are more likely to lash out at the members of your team or otherwise communicate poorly. Since you cannot communicate with remote team members using body language, stress-induced misunderstandings or conflicts can blow up and lead to angry email chains and hurt feelings. Stay calm and in control, and step away from the keyboard for at least ten minutes before sending a charged email or other virtual message that you’ve composed.
3. Learn to listen.
Your face-to-face time with remote team members is limited, and it will often take place in a virtual environment, such as Skype. How can you humanize this experience? You must be mindful and make an effort. Invite your team members to express their ideas, concerns and opinions without fear of judgment. Listen actively to each person as he or she speaks, and do not interrupt. Make eye contact with speakers, and pay close attention to body language and tone of voice, which can easily get lost in virtual settings.
Need more help fine-tuning your leadership skills to run a remote team effectively and gin up genuine passion for your mission and goals? Please contact me for a free consultation, or sign up for my newsletter below!