3 Strategies to Build a Successful Remote-Working Team

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My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

An authentic leader is one whose actions demonstrate they genuinely believe that leadership is a privilege and not just a position.

A question is ‘What actions would demonstrate that … especially when working with remote teams?’

One answer to that question is any actions that show the leader trusts their people, and that they themselves are trustworthy.

One of the contributing elements that historically stopped many leaders from allowing employees to work from home, was trust … or a lack of it.

Lessons in Leadership from Covid19

What this global pandemic has taught us is this:

Even when leaders didn’t trust their employees to work remotely, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to suggest their lack of trust was indeed unfounded.

In fact, many people working remotely report being more productive, efficient, and creative.

Recent research from Dr Adam Fraser 1 shows that 55% of remote workers are working between five and ten hours longer than when they weren’t working remotely.

Work-life balance and mental health issues aside (topics for another post), these findings add further to reassure leaders that in the majority of cases their remote workers can be trusted.

My question though is how well will remote workers be able to sustain their productivity and results?

The best type of motivation

Remote workers need to find the motivation to get out of bed, and transition from home-life into a work-role.

This is where leaders need to be continually helping and coaching their remote workers to develop self-determination.2

Put simply, the long-term continued success of working remotely will require employees to want to stay productive … to be intrinsically motivated to get the job done – even in tough times.

The path to being and maintaining intrinsic motivation (getting the job done simply because they want to get the job done) is through developing self-determination.

To develop self-determination, leaders need to help, coach and fulfill three innate needs required to tap into and release their remote workers intrinsic motivation.

1. The first is their sense of autonomy. This is their sense that they have the freedom to work in ways that are aligned with their personal values and goals.

This means leaders need to avoid micro-management and have more meaningful conversations with their people as to how they can support them.

2. The second is their sense of competence. This is their sense that they have the skills, knowledge, attributes and access to the resources and technologies they require to successfully achieve their work tasks and outcomes.

This means leaders need to ensure they continually provide on-going learning and self-development opportunities for their people that build their competence and capacity to self-manage … especially in difficult and challenging situations.

3. The third is their sense of relatedness. This is their sense that they have work relationships that are supporting and nurturing them, and importantly, work relationships that they can contribute to and also be supportive and nurturing with.

This means leaders need to be empathetic, caring, and authentic in their everyday communications and interactions with remote workers.

In the hustle and bustle of busy work, budgets, digital disruption, competition, mixed in with the personal impacts of a global pandemic, it can be easy for leaders to forget the importance of their relationships with their remote workers.

It’s important for leaders to believe and demonstrate that leadership is a privilege, not a position.

  1. Dr Adam Fraser https://www.dradamfraser.com
  2. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2017). Self-determination theory. The Guilford Press. N.Y.
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