Leading a team isn't easy at the best of times. Add a newly remote workforce and stressful circumstances, and it becomes even harder.
The challenges that we hear most frequently from team managers are much less about the tasks and much more about the people. Challenges like:
- Trust ie. Even though I can’t see you I want to trust that you are doing your job well
- Bonding i.e. I want to feel supported and encouraged by my remote teammates
- Motivation ie. I want to feel motivated to work even though I can’t feel the energy or ‘buzz’ of the office
- Sharing information ie. I’d like to feel up to speed and have the latest information I need to do my job well
- Being listened to ie. I want to have an adequate opportunity to raise concerns or suggestions.
- Resilience ie. I want to feel capable of handling sudden changes without feeling overwhelmed
Our mission is to help get every team working at the top of their game, regardless of where they are in the world. This handbook will take you through simple instructions to address common challenges of remote teamwork.
If you’re a manager, this is all practical advice that you can start working on right away.
Saberr’s technology CoachBot makes it easier for managers to do these things effectively so we will be giving examples of how CoachBot supports it.
The rest of this guide relies on you being able to use a video-communication software that meets some basic functionality.
Checking in with your employees one-on-one becomes paramount. You can no longer rely on those face-to-face moments in the office as signals of how they are doing so schedule regular one-to-ones with each of your direct reports.
Investing time on the foundations of good teamwork — like agreeing on some team behaviours — can accelerate how quickly trust is built, which is hard to do remotely.
Building reflection into your workflow is a big part of being an effective team as it gives you the ability to learn and adapt quickly.
It’s harder to pick up on whether your colleagues are feeling stressed or low on energy when you can’t see them face-to-face. Launching a quick survey will help.
Meetings are more effective when they have an owner who chairs or facilitates. This is never more true than in remote meetings.
Resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. How we react to tough times like these varies greatly from person to person.
WHAT IS A TEAM?
This is less existential than it sounds. Figuring out the memberships, relationships, roles and responsibilities of all individuals working together is a difficult but essential step in team effectiveness.
Project Aristotle distinguishes ‘teams’ from ‘work groups’.
Work groups are characterized by the least amount of interdependence. They are based on organizational or managerial hierarchy. Work groups may meet periodically to hear and share information.
Teams are highly interdependent - they plan work, solve problems, make decisions, and review progress in service of a specific project. Team members need one another to get work done.