Written by Alexandra GavrilaApr 21, 2020

Managing a remote team certainly has its challenges, especially in this time of uncertainty: you need to organize and lead people from different countries, time zones, cultures, and backgrounds.

As a bonus, you won’t get the chance to physically check in on them.

As a result, it's easy to start micromanaging, as a means to ease the feeling that you’re not in control of things.

Of course, there are some so-called "solutions". There are many tracking tools available when (micro)managing remote teams. These allow you to monitor any activity of your employees and that may seem soothing for you. But is it? Is tracking your team really a solution? Do these tracking tools improve productivity?

Of course not! After about 10 years of remote collaboration, we know that micromanagement can come in handy and easy, but it's not the recipe for success.

Below are three suggestions for building strong relationships with your remote team based on trust, not micromanagement:

Build trust

With trust being one of the key elements of any effective team – is it possible to build trust in remote teams and create an inclusive work environment?

Of course! It's possible but challenging... Like any other good thing in life!

Building a remote team culture that is based on trust, on a common purpose and on fostering long-lasting productive relationships is the long-term goal of every successful company. It’s also one of the biggest challenges, of course! 

Here are 5 key elements to be taken into consideration to help you build trust in remote teams and sustain a highly effective, productive and successful remote team:

  1. Transparency
  2. Consistency 
  3. Congruency 
  4. Accountability
  5. Commitment 

Overcommunicate

It’s been said that communication is the “oxygen of a distributed company.”

It couldn't have been better said, because remote teams must have good communication strategies to survive and thrive. Async work and async communication, like remote work, is a skill. You can choose to learn but you may be fine without learning it. You don’t need to have a special talent to communicate async/remotely. It’s about skills you can practice, it’s up to you. You control it.

Working remotely is actually a set of skills. One of the most important skills is overcommunication.

Overcommunication... It is like being surrounded by friends who want to help you, if only you give them the chance to help you.

Choose to give them the chance!

Keep employees engaged 

Overcommunicating is a good thing to do, but it's not enough to support your employees. Especially during this period. You need to go further. Listen to your employees, ask them to share their challenges and build strong connections with them.

In the end - don't forget: it's all about building strong relationships based on trust and reciprocity with your remote team. 

Here are 6 management tips on how to keep your remote employees engaged and motivated:

  1. Offer flexibility
  2. Give employees a sense of belonging
  3. Build an active employee community
  4. Facilitate virtual company-wide meetings
  5. Invest in professional development
  6. Keep remote employees engaged with recognition

Companies offer remote work with the aim to develop a culture that offers their employees greater freedom, promotes creativity and innovation, and encourages transparency and inclusiveness.

Micromanaging a remote team is contradictory to these fundamental values that make distributed work environments so engaging.

Trust in your team, and explore just how far remote work can take you as a leader!

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