Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Inheriting a remote team, part of Managing Virtual Teams.
Pilots have radar to help them see planes. They know they're there, but radar helps them track, manage, and watch the other planes. As a manager inheriting a remote team it's good to come up with your own personal radar system. One way to do that is to establish positive relationships with all of your team members. The four steps I'll share in this unit are ways for you to reach out to your remote employees so you can more easily create these relationships and probably make your job easier.
Step one is to introduce yourself. The key here is to establish trust and partnership, and you can do that in two ways. First, use rich communication technology. When you conduct your introduction use something like Skype, Face Time, or Web Ex. It is important for you and your employees to connect both visually and verbally. Second, make your introduction both personal and professional. It should be a casual conversation.
Discuss roles and responsibilities but also generate dialog about non-work topics such as sharing things about immediate family, hobbies, or other interests. Step 2 in developing good relationships is to schedule one-on-one meetings. This is different from the initial introductory discussion. Here are recommendations for your initial one-on-one meeting with your remote team members. Use an agenda. This way your team member will know what to expect and both of you can come prepared which will save you time, and time is worth gold with remote team members.
My second recommendation is to set specific expectations. Both you and your employee need to create and agree how you will best work together. I suggest trying multiple approaches such as setting timing expectations for responses to text messages, phone calls, and emails. Establishing expectations such as these support positive and productive relationships. Make these one-on-one calls a weekly occurrence. Consistency and inclusion is the key.
A simply 15 minutes to touch base and get project and status updates can work wonders. Step 3 in establishing good relationships is to create new communication habits. Come up with a set schedule to communicate with your team so you are perceived as being dependable. Here are a few tips on how to do this. First, formally set up the weekly call I mentioned earlier. Put it in your calendar for your remote team members and make it a re-occurrence from now until forever.
Second, set up face-to-face meetings for the whole team. Figure out if you can get your whole team in the same room. If not, see if you can utilize a good teleconference facility where you see each other. Bringing your team together can dramatically advance your working relationships. My final recommendation is to create a visual. You can call it a treasure map, a vision board, or whatever name works for you. With your team put together a visual of the things you want to create.
Get everyone to participate, and make sure everyone gets a copy. I suggest making this one of the first things you do as a team. It will help you manage to a single and a collaborative vision. The final step for establishing positive relationships quickly is to follow up frequently. Use the three C's. Check in, clarify, and confirm. Check in with your team members after meetings. Clarify decisions made.
Confirm that both you and your employees are on the same page. There your have it. Four new communication habits and a place to start with your new remote team so you can create functioning, effective, and positive relationships.
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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