The Inside Scoop on leading remote teams pt. 2

Performance Management and Team Systems

In the proceeding article we discussed the indispensable leadership skills that are most applicable for leading remote teams, which are: Building trust; Shaping team culture and values; Leveraging inclusion; and Building engagement to sustain the team’s motivation and notleast important, how  all these skills can be supported through various management tracking software.

In this blog we will be looking at another key focus area for the remote team lead Performance Management

Align objectives with track performance: Have you heard of OKRs?
Managing performance and tracking progress keeps everyone moving toward the same goals and gives everyone the sense of being a part of a team even as they sit in their home office. Team and task management tools like Wrike, Weekdone, or Monday whether tracking Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), team goals, agile goals, or personal development goals while packing the motivation that comes with the enjoyment of seeing what’s already been achieved. Particularly in remote teams leaders need to clear the line of sight to everyone’s objectives,

“Objectives and key results are the yin and yang of goal setting”

– John Doerr

Remotely working teams need structured and transparent ways to give visibility to each team member’s tasks and progress. It can be imperative that team members know where their colleagues are on projects. As well, using a digital tracking tool helps leaders by giving focus to the regular one to one meetings, remote team planning, and review meetings. To have the desired effect, it’s important the team members actively use the selected team tool to keep a consistent level of visibility on progress tracking and deliverables.

Want engaged people? Empower your team!

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. It makes more sense to hire smart people and train them enough so they start telling you what to do“

– Steve Jobs

Project management tools are put to the best use by empowered teams that have been imbued with a sense of purpose by team leaders. As organizations move to flatter hierarchies, self-organizing teams and autonomous teams are increasingly becoming the norm. New ways of working, flexible work models, and work from home add an increased sense of urgency for team leaders to empower team members and build individual ownership for productivity and results from delivery within agreed timeframes. Leaders of remote teams need to practice hands-off leadership, trusting that team members will be productive. Measuring team members’ performance and output is more important than focusing on the hours people spend at the desk.

How good are your influencing skills? Positively influencing is the currency of leadership in the matrix organization

In the matrix structure that dictates remote teams, it’s important for leaders to exercise positive influence across the entire environment. Project and business unit leaders do not necessarily have line authority over team members who are working remotely, so it’s important to build positive reciprocal relationships that will positively influence the team to go the extra mile. Particularly in volatile times when there are multiple, and at times conflicting, expectations on team members to deliver under ambiguous, stressful circumstances, leaders must be able to have the team’s respect in order to guide it. In today’s environment, influence and not control is the currency of leadership.

Share information broadly and give open feedback

It is in the hands of the team lead to build support systems that enable team performance and collaboration. This requires information sharing and feedback, setting up agile meaningful work practices, which includes enabling efficient digital collaboration systems, and building in the team’s accountability and competence to collaborate through technology.

“Your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share”

– Ginni Rommety

In the best-case scenario, remote teams have agreed upon procedures around information sharing, with whom, and in what format. Consistent and transparent information sharing is important in remote teams to avoid silo formation. As well, this critical communication increases team productivity, enhances engagement and drives informed data-driven decisions. Collective intelligence is the foundation of strong teams. Irrespective of the tools selected (there are multiple solutions such as Trello, Asana, Slack, Yammer, ScreenCloud, Geko Board, etc.) teams should be encouraged to use the tool proactively in an aligned manner with embedded feedback systems for the best results.

For some suggestions on team collaboration tools linked to specific tasks, check out this link: