Remote Management Tips for Top-Level Managers
Remote work has become ubiquitous—yet remote work management is still a relatively new practice to many managers, particularly at the senior level.
Remote.co asked a group of executives with remote work expertise for their best tips for top-level remote work managers to help them manage more effectively.
Give Them Their Space
Max Wesman is Chief Operating Officer at GoodHire, a company that continues to advocate for remote work and operates 100% remotely. Wesman manages and oversees day-to-day remote operations, working closely with department heads to support their direct reports. Wesman emphasized that newly remote top-level managers are facing a “culture shock” of their own as they contend with managing and overseeing globally distributed teams.
“Compared with being around your team on a daily basis, it can be unsettling not to know how your team is getting on, or whether they’re struggling,” Wesman said. The COO explained that, rather than rely on a constant stream of meetings and updates, the best way to set your remote team up for success is to give them what they need—and then leave them to their own devices.
“Make yourself available if they need your guidance, but give them full autonomy over how they perform their roles,” Wesman said. “Your team will appreciate the trust you put in them, and you’d be surprised at how much this impacts their productivity.”
Ashley Marie Fernandez—who is CEO of the career development and personal growth company Ashley Marie Coaching and also works full-time in the HR function of a professional services firm, agrees with the importance of giving remote employees their space. “Do not micromanage, as hard as it may be,” Fernandez said. “Your employees are grown adults—trust them to manage their time and workload.”
Clarify Your Expectations
Bonnie Whitfield, Human Resources Director of Family Destinations Guide, which shifted to a remote work setup after the pandemic struck, emphasized that she thinks top-level managers can manage remote teams better and more effectively by making sure they’re clear on their expectations.
“I think that when you have a remote team, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and forget to set standards for things like communication, project management, and employee engagement,” Whitfield said. “If you don’t set clear expectations early on, it can be hard to get everyone on the same page later down the line.”
In order to set clear expectations and ways of working with your direct reports and team as a senior-level remote leader, Fernandez suggested the following: “Perhaps every Tuesday morning, you have a team-connect call where everyone can have an informal chat, go over any key team priorities for the week and support needed, share any training takeaways, etc., and that outside of that scope there won’t be any large team meetings—that people can work flexible hours as long as they get their deliveries done on time and can connect with colleagues when needed.”
Immerse Yourself in Your Team
Unless you are proactive and take the initiative to connect with people who are working from home or other locations, the nature of remote management is that you may end up disconnected from them—not just physically but emotionally.
That’s why Dawood Khan, CEO and cofounder of Pixelied, an online design tool for entrepreneurs and small businesses, says top-level remote leaders should spend more time getting to know their remote employees and motivating them.
“You should check in with each employee from time to time,” Khan said. “Instead of doing it with someone from HR, you can actually do it personally as the manager/boss.” Khan added that a big part of engaging employees is making them feel valued, and nothing does that better than having the boss become immersed in the team.
Fernandez added that it can help to encourage your remote team to share ways they want to stay connected and engaged, and do your best to foster those specific types of connections and experiences.
Make Yourself Available for Support
The best way to immerse yourself in your remote team is to open yourself up for any kind of support your employees need, according to Kahn. “It’s not just about work,” he explained. “You can give them the choice to talk to you about personal problems if they choose to. The point is to let them feel that the management is concerned about their welfare, not just their productivity.”
Since it can be challenging to communicate that level of concern in a remote setting, Kahn believes that remote managers should explicitly state it. “The same thing goes for basically anything—you have to explicitly say things in a remote setting because you can’t just ‘show’ it to them as you would in an in-person setting,” he concluded.
Manage Your Team’s Success
For more tips on successfully managing a remote team, check out Remote.co’s articles on remote management best practices!
By Robin Madell | Categories: Remote Management