Remote leadership failures are becoming more common as remote employment becomes the new norm. While leaders must adapt to the times, there are some mistakes to avoid if you want your virtual team to succeed.
To say the least, the professional world has been on a roller coaster since early 2020. Remote work was the exception rather than the rule prior to the pandemic. Fast forward to May 2021, and 70% of businesses aim to implement hybrid work, with a whopping 97 percent of employees expressing a desire to work remotely in some capacity.
While there’s a strong case to be made that these changes will boost employee engagement, they’ve also thrown a wrench in the works for corporate executives attempting to figure out how to do their jobs from afar.
However, it hasn’t been easy. Many executives have risen to the occasion and seamlessly transitioned to remote work. Many others, on the other hand, have failed in their endeavours and are having a detrimental impact on their teams as a result.
We’ll look at the largest and most prevalent remote leadership blunders to avoid in 2022 and beyond in this post.
1. Believing that Remote Work has a negative impact on Performance
It’s a prevalent misperception that remote workers are less productive than those who work in a traditional office setting.
In fact, 38% of managers believe that remote workers perform worse than in-office workers, and 41% doubt that remote workers can stay engaged over time.
When you consider that a study of data collected through March 2021 indicated that nearly 6 out of 10 workers said they were more productive when they worked from home, you can see how perceptions differ from reality.
This can lead to a variety of issues, including the ones listed in the next three bullet points.
2. Counting Hours Rather Than Results
If you’re managing a remote team and still judging success by the number of hours your team spends “online,” you’ve made a significant remote leadership mistake.
The main distinction between remote work and traditional labor is the lack of visibility. In traditional office settings, it’s assumed that if you can see your coworkers, they’re working.
When you come by, they could just as easily be scrolling through Facebook and then switching to a new tab.
Instead of gauging success by how long your employees appear to be online, look at the volume and quality of work they produce, as well as whether they’re completing tasks on time.
One of the best things about remote work—and one of the things people appreciate about it the most—is the ability to have some flexibility in their workdays to take care of personal matters if necessary. So, as long as they’re getting their task done, consider granting some leniency and flexibility with their time.
A good performance management system can help a lot with this, but we’ll get into that more later.
3. A lack of Self-assurance and Trust
There’s no denying that making the move to remote leadership can be difficult. It’s common for leaders to have doubts about their ability to do so, especially in the beginning. However, a research published in the Harvard Business Review served to demonstrate just how bad the problem is.
It implies that:
- 40% of supervisors and managers are unsure about their abilities to manage their employees remotely.
- “I am confident I can manage a team of remote workers,” stated 23% of respondents.
- This ability was questioned by 16% of those polled.
This is particularly troublesome because leaders are supposed to pioneer the road forward and motivate their team members.
It’s critical for an organization’s leaders to be supported in their development in order for them to be able to accomplish the best job possible. This can be accomplished through group skills training courses aimed at honing soft skills.
Here are a few that may be of assistance.
Leadership Styles for Different Situations
Learn how Situational Leadership Styles may help leaders improve their performance by identifying their own natural leadership styles and knowing how their people prefer to be led.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
You may improve your team’s self-awareness and social abilities with the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) leadership training and development program. This includes increasing self-awareness, learning to self-regulate actions, improving social skills for leadership, employing emotionally intelligent motivators, and cultivating empathy.
Making Decisions with Confidence
Learn to confront tough choices and break down the decision-making process, learn to make smart judgments, recognize decision-making traps, and become more accountable to help your team make more confident business decisions.
4. You’re Still Trying to Micromanage Your Workers
Even while you’re at work, micromanagement is a major issue that can have a negative impact on staff morale and productivity.
It can be disastrous in the context of distant work. There are also a few telltale signals that you’re micromanaging your team, such as:
- Limiting your team’s ability to make decisions
- You take longer than necessary to finish projects.
- You nitpick and look for flaws.
- You stay away from the classroom.
- You don’t inquire about feedback.
- Do you want to know how dangerous micromanaging may be? According to a research, 69 percent of employees pondered shifting employment due to micromanagement.
This is a significant leadership blunder that must be avoided at all costs. But there’s good news: by giving you access into your team members’ responsibilities, the correct procedures and technologies can help you resist the impulse to micromanage.
In the following part, we’ll go over this in greater detail.
5. Ignoring the Need for New Systems in Remote Teams
You’re trying to cram a square peg into a round hole if you try to adopt a new style of working while using the same old systems you’re used to.
To be successful, remote work necessitates new systems, tools, and ways of working.
This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Communication tools
- Collaboration software
- File-sharing applications
6. Giving the Wrong Kinds of Communication Priority
Communication is extremely critical in distant work situations, but there’s a distinction to be made between what’s appropriate and what’s not.
The Appropriate Forms of Communication
You must prioritize the forms of communication that empower, motivate, and reinforce your team as a remote leader.
Here are a couple such instances.
One of the most important threads in the fabric of a successful company culture is social participation. This occurs in an office setting, for example, in passing in the hallway or in the lunchroom. It’s far more difficult to have these crucial interactions in a remote work environment. As a result, remote executives should make sure they’re encouraging rather than discouraging chit-chat, such as on Slack or Microsoft Teams. Even introducing team-building icebreaker questions into your team’s virtual chat channels on a daily basis will help keep things fresh.
Check-Ins That Aren’t Formal
Not every interaction with your team as a leader needs to be official. Checking in with your employees to see how they’re doing, how they’re feeling, and if they need assistance is sometimes a good idea. It can go a long way toward fostering a healthy team environment. It can also keep you informed without making your employees feel like they’re being pressured. In fact, 46% of employees stated the most effective managers checked in with them on a regular basis.
Communication in the Wrong Forms
Some forms of communication, on the other hand, might potentially be detrimental to staff morale and well-being.
Meetings are overbooked
When remote leaders lack faith in their team members, they tend to overbook people’s calendars with meetings to give them the impression of being visible. However, this might backfire: employees may develop remote meeting fatigue and lose crucial time working on their primary tasks.
Sending an Excessive Number of Emails
“This email could’ve been a meeting,” you’ve probably stated. In many cases, “this email could’ve been a Slack message” in the remote world. When face-to-face communication is limited, it’s easy to fall back on sending a lot of emails. However, this can be draining and overwhelming. Before you write an email, consider whether it would be more appropriate to send a fast direct message instead.
Response Time Expectations That Aren’t Realistic
Many leaders expect their remote employees to respond to emails and messages very immediately. But this is the wrong way to approach it. Rather than expecting instant responses, set expectations for how long it will take your staff to respond to your emails and return phone calls.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your team’s verbal and written communication abilities, you might want to enlist a group skills training course like Clear Communication as a means of ensuring your remote communication is efficient and productive.
7. Ignoring Work/Life Boundaries
As much as remote employees appreciate a better work-life balance (almost 3 in 4 employees repeat this attitude), working from home can be a double-edged sword.
After all, it can be tough to entirely unplug when your workspace and home area are one and the same. Unlike office workers, who have a physical and mental gap between their work and home, remote workers constantly have “the job” close by.
Failure to encourage work-life balance is a huge mistake for remote executives. Allowing your staff to sign off and have their personal space isn’t enough. You must be an advocate for it, encouraging them to completely disconnect at the end of the day.
8. Ignoring the morale of the team and the Company Culture
Maintaining a healthy team morale and company culture is one of the most difficult problems that remote teams confront.
A vital leadership job is to find strategies to proactively engage your remote workforce.
While this may appear to be a difficult task in a virtual environment, the truth is that it does not have to be.
This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.
Happy Hours and Coffee Breaks
The social side of working in an office atmosphere is one of the most pleasurable aspects of the job–walking to a neighboring coffee shop or going out for after-work drinks with coworkers. These are most likely the details you’re overlooking. You can use your virtual tools to duplicate these experiences, such as scheduling 15-minute coffee meetups once or twice a week and booking a virtual happy hour once a month after work.
9. Failure to Evaluate Performance
Failing to update your performance management systems in a remote work environment can be a severe failure, leading to low employee morale, higher attrition, and burnout.
Output is a good way to gauge success.
Remote managers, as we discussed previously in the essay, have no way of knowing if their team members are even awake at their workstation. Great remote performance management prioritizes output and results over clocking time.
You must evaluate remote personnel on quantitative criteria, such as:
- Whether they’re completing great work on schedule and in full
- If they make themselves available to their team when they are needed
- If they are meeting their role’s responsibilities
- It’s critical to spell out and express these expectations right away.
- Be well-organized.
Whether you undertake performance management on a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual basis, it must be structured. A robust performance management document app maintained by the employee and backed by the manager is an excellent method to keep everyone on track. During performance management meetings, it’s a good idea to present a full summary of an employee’s career path and what they need to do to advance to the next level.
Make clear, concise, two-way feedback a top priority
In remote performance management, trust is crucial. And one of the most effective methods for managers to create trust with their employees is to request as much input as they give. You shouldn’t just tell your staff what they’re doing well and where they can improve. Instead, give comments and then ask if they have any suggestions for how you may better assist their success.
Outback offers a number of group skills training sessions that can assist you and your colleagues leaders in developing and implementing successful remote performance management methods.
Performance Evaluations and Productive Feedback
Remote leaders might benefit from constructive feedback and performance reviews to better manage their staff.
It’s critical that you’re able to provide constructive criticism in a good and powerful manner, and Productive Feedback and Performance Reviews will teach you how to do just that. This course will educate you how to conduct performance evaluations, plan and format review meetings, have “difficult” dialogues, and develop motivational goals for your employees.
Fundamentals of Performance Management
You’ll learn the foundations of simple and effective performance management skills with the Performance Management Fundamentals training program, including a deeper understanding of the performance management cycle, as well as how to build performance-driven relationships, coach colleagues more effectively, provide more impactful feedback, and measure performance more accurately.
The most effective remote leaders will be those who can adapt their talents to the times and avoid the most common remote leadership blunders as the world goes toward remote employment and a distributed workforce.
What is your company doing to develop the abilities of its remote leaders? Please let us know in the comments!
Would you like to learn more about how to become a more effective remote leader?
Contact our team to learn more about how team building activities and group skills training programs may help you develop more effective remote leaders.
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