by Chuck Chapman, Content Strategy Coordinator
As Kevin and Wayne constantly point out, while location and some things change when we have remote teams, much of what makes an organization successful remains the same. That’s very true when it comes to leadership development. If you want your organization to continue to grow, you need to have a plan in place to build a leadership pipeline.
These are critical areas that need to be addressed to build the consistency and continuity that will allow your organization to thrive using remote teams. By observing these behaviors in leadership, potential leaders will learn what the organization values.
Leaders on remote teams must keep their teams connected and working together. That means promoting remote team building activities and/or setting up regular meetings. It’s your job to provide a platform where remote team members can connect on a personal and professional level. This builds bonds and increases the chances people will be thinking of working long-term with your organization.
For remote teams, working from different locations and maybe even different schedules, information sharing can be a challenge. Remote leaders have to facilitate that sharing which cements that sense of connectedness mentioned above. Much of that information is critical for the professional development of individual team members.
Keep your virtual “door” open
Your remote workers can’t just pop in for a quick chat when something comes up. That means you have to make sure they know you’re available for communication. Provide your team member with multiple options (chat, email, phone) where they can reach you. This doesn’t mean you have to drop everything and respond every time you’re “pinged” on Slack. What it does mean is that you set specific times you will be available and remain consistent with your responses.
Don’t wait for them to call, though. Reach out and talk to your team. Not only that, but encourage contact between members of your team and set it up when necessary.
Make sure they’re a fit for remote work
Before bringing someone on to a remote team, you need to find out if the person’s personality is conducive to a remote work situation. Remote work isn’t for everyone, so make sure to screen for candidates suited for a virtual environment. Even if they have other leadership qualities and technical skills, that doesn’t mean they have the temperament for remote work. That’s why developing leaders from within your own remote teams is so appealing. You already know they can flourish in that environment.
Provide ongoing leadership development opportunities
Whether it’s through your own internal leadership development initiative, or though an external program like Bud to Boss, make sure you make it known that you promote growth within your remote teams. The best way to do that is to offer these development opportunities. This is one way the “cream rises to the top.” When these opportunities are presented, those who are future leaders are likely to step forward and take advantage.
To develop leaders on a remote team, you must find those who possess the leadership attributes you’re looking for and the ability to work in a remote setting. By providing these examples and opportunities, your organization can develop leaders who understand building and leading a team in a virtual world.