The Inside Scoop on leading remote teams pt. 3

Remote Team Challenges and Solutions You Should Know

If someone were to lay out the challenges inherent in managing your team remotely, and then presented the solutions, would you read it? Here you go!

Pivoting to managing teams that are suddenly not in your office mounts challenges on the ordinary. We’re giving you a heads-up to what might present itself, and solutions for how to finesse successful remote experiences.

Individual and team goals
Among the many important responsibilities, and challenges, of any team leader is ensuring that everyone has clarity on their individual goals, as well as team goals and deliverables, while emphasizing how they have to work together. If you’re leading remote teams, this is a skill you’ll want to polish in order to avoid chaos. Start by using a methodology such as OKRs (Objectives and Key Deliverables) to define and track individual and team goals and then putting your collaborative software to work in order to make objectives visible for all in documented individual goals and timelines for deliverables and key results. It’s important to establish clearly defined individual roles, as well as to make it understood that flexibility is a beautiful and necessary skill that will save a team under pressure. Find out more about using the OKR methodology here

Visibility through collaboration software
Especially in the case of remote team collaboration, it’s important to be certain that everyone is aware of the roles and responsibilities of other team members. Collaboration software is worth its weight in gold (at least) in this regard. Leaders who establish collaborative norms in their remote teams set the tone for the future whether they be around meeting styles or how information should be shared to avoid future misunderstandings. It almost goes without saying that for smooth collaboration, it’s essential that everyone on the team has remote collaboration skills and access to the technology that facilitates full engagement and active exchange with other team members. Well documented procedures will make onboarding of new team members fluid and uniform, which is critical for agreement on accountability and interdependencies. A built-in feedback methodology should be robust, not left out, and will help the team self-correct in the event of unforeseen trials. For more information on team collaboration platforms check out Capterra

In the end, everything comes down to communication and in order to have efficient and effective communication, it is helpful for teams to discuss communication rituals upfront. Communication norms can be established on two levels—tools and behaviors: which tools are we going to use and how can we best engage with one another? Don’t shy away from setting communication rules, it will let team members know what’s expected of them and support productive exchanges. As a leader you can encourage use of social media tools by using them yourself to keep everyone up to date. You can push information via email or make it available to everyone on software such as SharePoint. Use both to make sure that people are held accountable for accessing and sharing relevant information.

“Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication.”

— Mike Krzyzewski

Team values and identity
Clear team values and time spent defining how the team works together builds strong team spirit and active social media engagement keeps the spirit alive. Allocating time and effort to hold team social events online cements team identity and helps the team stay connected across the virtual environment. With a foundation of familiarity, trust and respect are strengthened between colleagues, which makes working autonomously and productively from home less stressful. Team members are likely to show greater integrity and to keep commitments that empower the virtual team with garnered respect.

Team members need to be coached and supported towards taking ownership for end-to-end results. Remote teams fair best when they can self-organize and decide how to collaborate to achieve goals. As their leader, you give them the tools that will power your shared success.

You can find out more about how to build self-organizing teams using the following link: