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5 Ways to Build Remote Leadership Skills

Post-pandemic leadership requires trust, work on your soft skills and mixes a collection of distinct leadership styles.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Today, companies around the world have had to adapt to working remotely quickly. While this is a big difference from the way work has been done in the past, there is more need to provide positive leadership if your employees continue to work from home. Strong remote leadership creates an inclusive environment that fosters an organization where everyone is accountable and has a role that ultimately affects the company's performance.

According to the results of the recent pre-pandemic study published by the BBC, within the context of offline work, teams chose leaders with the same confident, magnetic smart-looking, extroverted tendencies we often see in offices. In other words, they were influenced by the power of personality.

In the context of virtuality, performance factors had more importance. Remote leaders were "doers." They were goal-oriented, productive, reliable and helpful.

That being said, I have been working with the hybrid work model for over 15 years. Now I run a company and have 65 employees working remotely. I have found that managing remote employees is different from managing them in the office: You cannot share your drive and energy to motivate your team. It's harder to track the state of your team and maintain enthusiasm, which you can easily do when you are in the office. You need to put in more effort to create a sense of belonging and achieve the company's goals.

Working on this, my leadership style has been influenced by the book The Inner Game of Work by W. Timothy Gallwey. The central idea, which can be applied to effectively leading employees, is to let them work freely.

The key principles Gallwey focuses on are awareness, choice and trust. Awareness means that the leader does not judge, choice means that the most important decisions can be left to a team member and trust means trusting a team member's intuitive mind and professional competence to decide for themselves. If we can reduce an employee's fear of being threatened, it will positively impact their performance.

I believe it is essential to stand for freedom, provision of resources and personal responsibility. For example, in our corporate Wikipedia, a rule allows a team member to disagree with their supervisor or CEO and make sure their point of view has been heard. If I had to give my leadership style a name, it would be the laissez-faire style. My team has been successful and thriving with this way of working. Below, I list some of my most successful remote leadership methods to help others who want to improve employee job performance and their company's productivity.

Related: Why Remote Work Makes Teams (And Leaders) Better

Tips for being a better remote leader

1. Do not use employee monitoring software

A remote monitoring system will not save you from inefficient employees. If you have to implement a remote monitoring system in your company, it is a red flag for faulty internal processes in a company. Most employees choose to work remotely to enjoy their freedom, and if you start monitoring them online, you'll negate one of the most important benefits of doing so. In my practical experience, some valuable professionals with a strong individualistic culture cannot resist the discomfort of this kind of monitoring and may be ready to leave a company because of it.

2. Provide your team with all the resources they need to achieve their goals

When you consistently provide resources, team members are most likely to become more accountable and make a result of it. The ability to always get all the resources you need without a detailed explanation encourages an entrepreneurial mindset in your team.

Related: The Importance of Returning to the Office After Remote Working

3. Trust the people you hire

Trust in a remote team is the key to efficient work. I'd rather trust 100 percent of the team than not trust the whole team. And in my experience, there is always 1-2 percent of those who do not justify the trust while working with us. That's a good statistic to try once.

4. Create digital rules: formal and informal

Corporate Wikipedia is every employee's first point of contact with the company, as well as a controlled mechanism for implementing business tasks and for communicating our values. However, this does not preclude us from using informal check-ins. Every morning, we greet each other in Slack and say goodbye at the end of the day. Some team members may not need this, but it's a must. The feeling of friendliness and warmth that comes from these greetings and goodbyes is the same as if you were starting a workday with colleagues in a real office.

5. Promote independence and let your team have their say

I have used the Harzburg model, also known as the delegation of responsibility model. The essence of the Harzburg model is the combination of three measures: a clear statement of the problem, a clear definition of the decision framework and a clear delineation of responsibility for actions and outcomes. Each team member must act and decide independently within the delegated area.

You don't have to use the same working model to manage your team remotely successfully. You can use some of it and save yourself more management oversight. However, I must suggest that you allow team members to express their opinions openly, whether their team leaders like them or not. The idea of delegating responsibility and trusting your staff will bring you high employee satisfaction and productivity.

Related: Why Remote Learning is an Avenue That is Worth Exploring

Alex Bozhin

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Alex Bozhin is a serial entrepreneur with 15 years of marketing experience. In 2020, he founded Postoplan, an AI-powered system for marketing automation in social networks that helps create, publish and promote content on social media and messengers.