The first step in being an effective remote manager to your team is understanding how your mindset may need to shift in order to best support them. Mastering an effective mindset starts with examining your fundamental beliefs about both the current pandemic situation, and the people you manage.
First, it’s important to acknowledge that managers are…well, human! Just like the employees you lead, you are likely dealing with your own uncertainties and distractions. Read our guiding principles for leaders during a physically distant, socially connected time to help you reframe how you’re thinking about this situation — and know that your team needs you to model a mindset of determination and togetherness.
Second, take time to examine the beliefs you have about your team to ensure you are leading in ways that support their success in a virtual environment. Make a list of helpful manager mantras that embody beliefs like trust, support, and teamwork —and then lead with behaviors that reflect these beliefs back to your team. To get started, try:
- Behavior to reflect this mindset: We know people do their best work when they feel safe, and ensuring your team feels safe takes extra care during periods of uncertainty. Find ways to lead with trust and empathy as you weather challenges together. A great example: welcome a child that appears in the background during a video call…maybe even have them say hi to the team. Allowing space for humanity helps your team know that you see them as the whole people they are, and creates an environment where employees can — and want — to do their best work.
- Behavior to reflect this mindset: set high expectations and focus on outcomes. Ensure your mindset embraces high expectations for your team, despite practical and logistical challenges. Just remember, working remotely means you have to gauge your team’s work by looking at outcomes, not by how many hours they are logging. Your team needs to know that you are here to support them by setting clear expectations, providing them with the tools and resources they need to get their jobs done, and trusting them to adapt and adjust their work style to succeed in a virtual setting.
- Behavior to reflect this mindset: embrace an asynchronous work style. Your team will likely be working across distributed time zones and around various personal and professional needs. Don’t make assumptions about productivity based on your perceptions of the time they are spending at their desk. Understand that the way your team is working likely looks a bit different now, and allow plenty of time for planning ahead, making decisions, and giving good direction and feedback.
Evolving your mindset as a remote manager will take continuous, conscious self-examination and a personal commitment to shifting how you fundamentally think about work and leading people.