A Step-by-Step Guide to Be an Impeccable Leader in a Remote Work Environment
Leadership, as conceived in the 21st century, necessitates a novel way of employee management. This need stems from the increase in remote work cultures, which deepen the divide between the employer and the employees.
The supreme quality of a leader is the ability to communicate effectively with the people whom they lead.
However, the absence of in-person supervision, especially that of physical proximity, creates a communication gap. Gestures, facial expressions and other forms of non-verbal communication, are replaced by numb and indifferent computers that diminish your ability to connect with your employees.
The development of leadership skills in the given scenario entails the shedding of outdated practices and the adoption of new efficient and effective methods. While the effectiveness of your leadership is dependent on the quantity and quality of work that you get done, your efficiency as a leader is linked to your ability to do the right kind of work in a given time. You can achieve the nexus between effective and efficient leadership by using the new paradigm of leadership skills.
According to Harvard Business Review, delegation is “the shift from doing to leading.” Strategic delegation is a skill that great leaders have sharpened over many years. You can get a head start on honing your leadership skills on this front if you adhere to the following simple, yet effective practices. During the delegation of a task, you must inform the employee that they hold complete responsibility for the assigned work. By inculcating accountability in an employee, you ensure that they take full responsibility for their actions and avoid the blame game. This guarantees that the quality and the temporality of the delegated task is not compromised.
After assigning the task, you must come to a consensus with your employee regarding the intended results of the work. Both parties must write down the expected outcome of the delegated task to create a concrete reference point. The clarity of the end goal emerging from this bridges the physical distance between you and the person you lead.
An important factor that strengthens strategic delegation is the deadline. By replacing the conventional practice of dictating a deadline with the freedom of the employees to choose a deadline redefines the employer-employee relationship. Thus, the employee with whom you entrust the work becomes the first person to evaluate the time taken to achieve the delegated task. On receiving the proposal for the tentative deadline, you can list a selection of dates that are acceptable to you and then reach a middle ground. By giving this choice to the employee, you can increase their accountability and motivation to complete the task. Finally, agree on the consequences that will follow if the employee fails to do the delegated work on time. Both the employer and the employee should write down the proposed consequences before the initialization of the task. This ritual incentivizes the latter to adhere to the work calendar without fail.
A remote work environment increases your tendency to micromanage your employees due to the lack of physical proximity, resulting in the decline of their freedom to work. A worthy leader overcomes the apparent mutual exclusivity of micromanagement and the independence of the staff by using tools that facilitate the smooth functioning of the remote work environment. A significant example of this is remote employee monitoring software that analyses the time spent by the employees during working hours. This tool allows you to keep track of the quantity of work done by your staff from the comfort of your home. Identifying resources that help you lead your employees through critical analyses of their engagement with their work not only saves you time but also increases the quality of the expected outcomes. As a leader, you must collate and employ such online tools and applications that aid in achieving the collective end goal with efficacy. This efficiency is mirrored in your ability to obtain maximum engagement from your remote workforce without tipping the scales between micromanagement and the employees’ freedom.
The most important skill that a leader needs to possess is flawless communication. In the world of work-from-home jobs, this skill takes on a new meaning. Communication in a workspace with a proximal concentration of people is multifaceted and efficient. In comparison, communication in a virtual workspace requires a series of rituals to ensure that the minimum standard of efficiency is achieved.
The previously mentioned steps to shape a meticulous leader work only when they are built on a strong base of employer-employee communication. You can facilitate this by integrating consistent face-to-face meetings into your schedule. These meetings can either be in-person or virtual. In the absence of in-person meetings, you can lead your team effectively by using the provision of videoconferencing.
As a leader, you should ensure the availability of the right technology that allows you to communicate with your employees. This technological investment quadruples when the employees receive precise guidance from you, their leader, because of its immediate effect on their productivity. Hence communication ceases to be a cliche that is conventionally paired with leadership - its vitality is reinforced by your ability to evolve into a responsible leader who thinks and acts creatively to achieve the most effective and efficient form of communication. This step, when implemented correctly, leads all the other aspects of leadership to the right path.
Hence, being a leader in the twenty-first century requires an evolved skill set that is informed by the factors discussed above. When you follow these steps to the dot, you will witness a cumulative action that results in the creation of an organic leader who inspires everyone to follow instinctively.
The large-scale transformation of the present work culture from proximal to remote workspace demands the establishment of evolved leadership skills that are conducive to this environment. As a leader, you must sharpen your skills consistently by adopting new strategies that work in tandem with the changing times.
A shift from your outdated and habitual strategic planning may appear to be intimidating at first, but once you embrace these new tools and methods of leadership, you will transform yourself into a dynamic and versatile leader.
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About the Author
Craig Lebrau is the CMO of Media Insider, a Wyoming-based PR company that aims to disrupt the way companies communicate their brand in the digital era.