How Team Leaders Can Effectively Manage Their Distributed Team
8/3/2020 | By Marella Gimenez
In the workplace, running a whole team can present its own set of challenges but with the current pandemic forcing most businesses to make the switch to working from home spurs an all new type of challenge altogether. Employers and managers are suddenly faced with creating a new way they can effectively manage themselves along with their own team while everyone is distributed and working from different locations. As authoritative figures in the workplace may already know how to plan, prioritize, and streamline their tasks, how can they aid their team members in doing the same?
Establish A Means of Communication
One of the main things that noticeably changes when your team is distributed will be the lack of face-to-face interaction that most of us take for granted. When running a team from different locations, it’s safe to assume someone may have missed an email, message, or important announcement.
By establishing deliberate and explicit communication channels that team members can easily access for inquiries and information, this eliminates any potential miscommunication and makes it easier for leaders to relay important messages to their team. Especially with the advancement of technology and the various online tools available on the web, online communication has been easier than ever, making daily touchpoints, video conference calls & meetings, and chatting on real-time possible for businesses to run their operations from anywhere.
Implementing a strong virtual workplace infrastructure that allows for the real-time exchange of ideas is ultimately what is key in managing a distributed team.
Set Goals and Clarify Expectations
By still setting a routine with daily updates and touchpoints, this can still give your team a sense of normalcy and can help them find balance in their work and home life despite being at home.
Emphasizing key goals and understanding your team’s capacity to accomplish them can efficiently let them make use of their work hours more productively, even with minimal supervision. This also simplifies to a team leader what their team members should be working on and committing less to small tasks and chores that take up unnecessary time.
Being realistic and individually communicating the main priorities and expectations of each team member also gives room to open conversation and makes them feel that their team leader has their back despite the challenges of working in the midst of a pandemic.
Room for Collaboration
These daily touchpoints and one-on-one conversations with your team members can pave the way to open an honest dialogue between the leader and a teammate, helping them address concerns, if they need more resources, or how they can assist in allocating their time more productively. Asking for reports on things that can be improved on from a leader’s or manager’s end helps team members feel that they are working in a more collaborative environment despite being away from their team.
Eliminating or delegating unimportant tasks and instead replacing them with value-added ones can improve each of your team members’ productivity, and giving them better control of their work-from-home schedule not only improves upon their decision-making skills but also their time management.
Enhancing the individual productivity of your team will later on play an important role in helping your whole team work cohesively as a unit.