Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Identifying expectations, part of Managing Virtual Teams.
When you rent a car, you have to bring it back with a full tank of gas and without any additional scratches or damage. No brainer, right? Sure, because the rental car agent had a conversation with you and provided documentation to identify these very expectations. In a way, this actually creates trust. The agent knows you know how to return the car appropriately and you know what to do while on your road trip. You need to do this very same thing with your remote employees.
You'll want to establish role basics. Make sure you and your team are on the same page. First, ensure your team knows who's who. Rarely is it a bad idea to review job responsibilities to make sure your team knows who's responsible for what. It's also good to check in and make sure your employees fully understand their own responsibilities and aren't accidentally duplicating efforts. Next, share your role wtih your team.
Time is valuable so you can save yourself time if your employees know what role related questions to ask you and what questions to take to someone else. And if they know what they will get from you and what they won't, that can help prevent the conflict that arises from unspoken expectations. Second, confirm the environment basics. A good example of environment basics is tool availability. Check to see if your team members have smart phones or land lines as needed.
If someone lives out in the countryside and they don't have good cell service at home, that's something you and your team members need to resolve. Second, confirm what each employee's schedule is. If your employees are working eight hours a day, but those eight hours don't have to be nine to five, find out when their favorite eight-hour timeframe is. If they work seven to three, but you believe they might have to attend a meeting outside those hours, communicate that upfront. Lastly, understand their experience as a remote team member.
Get curious about the past. Have they worked in a remote environment before? If they have, what worked or didn't work for them? If they've not worked remotely before, it might be good to share your experiences when working with remote and interoffice teams. My third and final recommendation is to have expectations conversations with your team. Here are three fun approaches. Try a remote happy hour if you feel it's appropriate. Use the virtual conference room and let your team know it's okay to enjoy an adult beverage as you talk through identifying and establishing expectations.
Second fun idea is to create some artwork. Create a laminated poster of the expectations you have established. Have each team member, yourself included, pick an image, like the logo of a football team, to put on the poster and send the final product to everyone on your team. Lastly, establish some non-work-related expectations. You might have team members who want to run a marathon, or lose 10 pounds, or quit smoking, or take that long awaited trip to Italy.
If you can create a list of these, the whole idea of expectations can take the form of a support structure and become a positive force for your team. The most important thing, however, is to ensure you have a clear expectations conversation with each of your remote employees. Ideally, you've pocketed a few tricks that can help you get your team expectations road trip going with a full tank of gas.
Discover how to build rapport, set mutual expectations, communicate, connect, overcome conflict, get work done, and grow the team. Also included is a look at the top five challenges managers face in leading remote teams and helpful solutions that will get your team on track.
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