Managing Remote Teams (Part 3) General Principles

Unlike working in a regular office environment, additional structure is needed to make sure you succeed and overcome the distractions, lack of human connection and absence of body language.  We recommend that:

  1. You maintain a strict control over video time. Most video conferencing applications have a waiting room to allow participants to be ready at least 5 minutes before. End your meetings promptly. Once again, the lack of informal communication means structure in meeting habits will prove invaluable
  2. Intentionally create meeting times especially if you are working with different or lateral teams. Do not rely on ad hoc meetings. Create and book regular, structured times into your calendar.
  3. Continue to leverage the Strengths of your team members. Consider adding your top 5 CliftonStrengths to your Skype handle or make them your virtual background.
  4. Facilitate as much of a regular type environment as possible. For example, some of our clients benefit from “happy hour”. This is a collaborative environment where everyone keeps their cameras on for happy hour and their microphones on mute (unless one needs to ask for input or advice, in which case speak up!). Have that glass of wine or coffee handy.

DAILY CHECK-IN CONVERSATIONS

Usually we would recommend doing these check-in meetings on a weekly basis. However with the loss of context and informal communications we recommend doing it twice a day. Once at the beginning of the work day and again at the end of the work day.  This will help keep your team feeling connected and our clients report this has in some cases improved productivity beyond what an integrated office environment was doing.

  1. Use the morning check-in to cover logistics (who is doing what, what are they working on, who needs help/support and what obstacles are there). This is a short meeting, no more than 10-15 minutes (depending on team size).
  2. The end of day meeting is an opportunity to to allow team members to show work done and share accomplishments. Once again, short and to the point. Problems that are identified can be put in the “parking lot” and addressed at another time.

WEEKLY CHECK-IN CONVERSATIONS

This is a longer meeting than the daily check-in conversations. The format for this will follow our usual conversation around goal achievement.

  1. Create clarity around the overarching team goal. Reinforce what the team is aiming to accomplish and make sure there is alignment around the desired outcome.
  2. Communicate how it is being measured (for the team).
  3. Have a conversation around how the team is stacking up. This is the logical outcome of having performance measurements. Ask how the team is doing, what needs to start happening and what needs to stop happening.

TEAM DEVELOPMENT CONVERSATIONS

Usually we recommend that this is done on a monthly basis. During a virtual meeting environment we recommend this happens more frequently. Beta test whether every two weeks works for the individuals on your team and then extend accordingly.

  1. Continue to focus on what motivates each team member. 
  2. Gain understanding of what challenges they are having.
  3. Help them understand how they can use their Strengths to overcome these challenges.
  4. Help them understand how they can leverage the other’s Strengths to help them accomplish their goals.
Article Written by Peter Holgate
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