Running an organization isn’t easy. There are many items to attend to on the business side to keep things running. Beyond managerial duties, leaders also need to have a vision for the future. Throw in the interpersonal complexities of managing a team, and you’ve got quite a challenge on your hands. (Sounds fun, doesn’t it? No?)
Let’s add another variable to the mix, shall we? Think about great remote leaders. Yes, leading from behind a computer screen presents its own set of hurdles. Which characteristics make for the best remote leaders and company founders—you know, the ones who create engaged teams—and how can you cultivate them?
Whether you’re currently in charge, or aspiring to a leadership role, there are three key attributes of successful remote leaders that you should keep in mind:
1. They’re trustworthy.
Many of the biggest issues remote teams encounter boil down to a lack of trust. If a manager or company founder wants to engender trust as a core value of the organization, it’s up to them to embody it from the outset. Things to consider:
- Can employees count on this person to be transparent, whenever possible?
- Do they show that they trust their teammates to use their best judgement/get the job done on time/positively represent their organization?
- Does their feedback display respect for others and a sense of direction for their business?
- Do they demonstrate a work ethic similar to what they ask of their team?
If a leader isn’t trustworthy, employees won’t just notice; it will likely impact their commitment to their work, and productivity will take a nosedive as a result.
2. They’re proactive.
Hiring managers often say that this is one of the top traits of prospective remote employees. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s critical for managers, too.
As a leader, being proactive means that you take the initiative to solve the little problems before they become larger ones (or, ideally, before they arise). It means that you make it a habit to reach out to employees in order to better understand them as human beings, aside from gathering valuable intel on their workloads, their frustrations, and their joys in their respective roles. It means that client interactions run smoothly because you’re on top of things, and business grows as a result. And it means that when internal change needs to happen, you’re the one leading the charge.
3. They’re organized.
I’m not talking about messy desks here, although there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to support that being in a cluttered environment can lead to mental roadblocks. Outside of spring cleaning your workspace, being organized as a leader requires the development of thoughtful work processes.
If important information or assets are undocumented or in disarray, it will hamper your ability to move forward. True, you might not feel like there’s anything amiss, but think of the time you could save by having all of your proposals in one spot. Or having the right contract language on file. Or having accessible onboarding materials at the ready. Or keeping an archive of teammates’ past work in a shareable location.
When leaders put processes in place that enable greater visibility and faster output, they show the rest of the company that they value everyone’s time and are committed to enabling others’ best work.
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