There’s A LOT of communication going on in the world right now, and it’s mostly negative and fear-provoking communication, and it has de-railed even some of the strongest among us. During this time managing, remote teams become a very critical job.
Every day you only have to turn on the news or check your social media feeds to see that the whole world is constantly focusing on COVID19 right now, and rightly so. However, if you’re a business owner or organisation, your remote teams (and for the first time), are highly likely to be struggling with this bombardment of negative communication and fixation on COVID19 and all that it has brought with it, and it’s affecting their morale and effectiveness to deliver. How can it not?
Leadership is a responsibility – CEO’s, business owners, coaches, team leaders, department heads and the like – need to be ensuring they are communicating clearly, regularly and effectively to their remote people and teams. They need to ensure that their message is the one that is resonating most powerfully with their people, that it’s constantly cutting through and drowning out the noise of this COVID 19 crisis.
In this series of “How to Successfully Lead Your Remote Team”, I’ve already covered some highly effective strategies to keep your remote team focussed on the vision, why and how to set clear expectations for your remote team and how to grow and transfer trust to your remote people and in these blogs, I touched on how to effectively communicate and execute them. In this blog, I want to outline the other forms of communication that are essential to ensure you maximise the performance of your remote people, particularly through this challenging time we’re all dealing with. As I have shared before, leading remote teams requires some different and deliberate behaviours and strategies compared to an in-office environment due to the lack of normal and free-flowing communication and interaction in a daily office environment.
- Weekly Team Meeting
Firstly, you need a minimum weekly team or divisional Zoom meeting for each of the team members to communicate to their peers what their main objectives are for that week and what support they need from other team members who are working remotely to strengthen unity, teamwork, and collaboration. This is particularly helpful if you have team members who aren’t naturally inclined or confident to make contact with other team members on their own and it’s useful for each team member to plan their week.
- Weekly One on Ones with Your Direct Reports
There needs to be a minimum weekly Zoom meeting with each of your direct reports as the business owner or leader of that team. This is essential to grow accountability and respect and to ensure there is regular face to face human contact, alignment to key objectives and the vision, and to answer any questions they have or help solve any issues they’re facing for example. The regular “face to face” Zoom contact ensures your people working remotely stay focussed on the right priorities, despite what’s going on around them. It also shows that you care about them, which right now, is needed in spades, with people being isolated in lockdown at home.
- Monthly Business Owner/CEO/Team Leader Message
The business owner/CEO/team leader needs to communicate through video, on a monthly basis, where the business and team are at, working remotely. Transparency is key for building trust and confidence in your people (critical for high performance from your team) and this type of communication also grows accountability and responsibility to the team to keep delivering the vision, day in and day out, in often difficult and trying circumstances at home.
It’s also critical that the business owner/CEO/team leader publicly recognises the high performance of team members to empower individuals and unite the team and to grow a hunger remotely to want to be recognised by the most influential leader in front of the rest of the team.
- A Live Zoom Quarterly Presentation from Each Key Team Member
Each quarter, each of your key team leaders needs to give a presentation to the chain of command via Zoom, presenting on what has happened in the last quarter, what the key objectives are for the next quarter, what problems need to be resolved and what ideas they have to grow the business. This helps to keep everyone “ON” the business as it forces them to take time to strategically think through the issues and plan and strategise on how to move forward.
- A Quarterly Business Review by the CEO/Business Owner
A quarterly review of how the business is tracking to achieve the vision must come from the CEO or business owner in a live Zoom meeting with the entire business, company or organisation. It’s important to bring the whole business, company or organisation together to mark their progress on this business milestone, especially while everyone is working in isolation. Celebrate the wins and encourage and plan for where extra effort is needed to accomplish the vision.
The 5 communication strategies above are my key areas for communicating with remote teams. Obviously, you might need to tailor these to the needs of your business or organisation, however, they give you a guideline from which to work from.
Can I encourage you to set some time aside to plan and prioritise in your calendar the communication events which need to occur with your remote people and teams as deliberate, regular communication is vital to ensure the high performance of your people in isolation. Your communication must cut through the COVID 19 noise.
Overall, your communication must unite, instil hope, be a constant source of encouragement and keep your people focussed on the right priorities to achieve the vision.
I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
Take care and keep climbing.
If you’d like to follow the Leadership Dynamics Facebook Page, my team and I are organising some online events to thrash out issues like, leading your teams remotely, in more detail. Stay tuned. Click here for the link to my Leadership Dynamics Page.
I’ve been leading remote teams globally since 1994. In one of my businesses, I now have remote teams in 28 countries, with a sales force of 15,000, in 12 languages. I’m also the Founder of Leadership Dynamics Australia which provides leadership strategies for SME’s and professional sporting organisations in Australia since 2003. I’ve implemented the strategies outlined in this blog series, ‘How to Successfully Lead Remote Teams”, since 1994 to great effect.