35. How to empower your team when working remotely

The reality of business today is that organisations are much more widely dispersed. Even smaller organisations might operate from multiple sites that make justifiable business sense. Whilst there may be good reasons for having staff dispersed, people management becomes more of a challenge for those leaders that that have responsibility for performance and development.

For the effective manager, the literal term “working remotely” does not exist.  Yes, there are times when one is not physically located with part or all of the team. The team however should never be remote from each other and running such distributed teams requires attention to some specific behaviours to be successful.

5 key behaviours for effective remote management

  1. The key is effective communication, delivering key messages in an effective manner. No longer is the memo, or even a simple email always effective. Today’s manager must be adept at all forms of communication, talking and meeting being, as ever, at the forefront, which means using the phone, Skype, FaceTime, gotomeeting and similar channels to their fullest capacity
  2. However none of these are a substitute for direct, face to face communication, which should always be planned for, even if regular but infrequent.  During my career as a part time Finance Director with a number of owner managed businesses, I have always met with my teams at least once per quarter
  3. In addition written communication becomes equally important. The sharing of plans, appropriate to the team; well thought out emails and presentations, sharing of information such as key performance indicators, all help effective management Additionally remember it is important to give as well as receive; you should expect your teams to contribute to the communication process, both written and oral
  4. Teams need to be empowered to act. This means giving proper and appropriate delegated authority, fully supported by an effective manager to perform to the best of their ability.  This will move the team towards full engagement with their work, real job satisfaction and better performance. With empowerment comes goals and targets which need to be carefully set, be aligned to the business goals and include being trusted to go “off piste” to some degree
  5. However the team cannot just be left to get on with it. “Remote” management is often seen as such because they abdicate their responsibility and drift into a blame culture – they become ineffective and emotionally (as well as physically) remote!  A better way forward is to align a system of monitoring and feedback to the targets set and regular 1 to 1 sessions

The Manager must be genuinely interested in his team, keep abreast of their performance and challenges and through great communication, guide them to better performance.

This is particularly true of the Finance Director, whose team is often in the midst of all that is happening in a business, and without whom the business will struggle to make optimum decisions.  The finance team will be ineffective without a leader who can display such traits.  A good and effective part time Finance Director knows this only too well and a good one will be very skilled in “remote” management

This blog has been written by Simon Ainley, Client Finance Director with Tectona.

To find out more about remote working or if you would like to discuss any of the topics covered above further with Tectona Partnership, please contact Mark Nicholls on 07818 407061.

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