In our experience, the following traits contribute to successfully managing remote teams. Team leadership can be a shared responsibility across different roles:
- Can manage transitions in the objectives, people, and focus of the team.
- Fosters an atmosphere of collaboration among team members
- Clearly communicates team goals, and how they align with the broader organizational strategy
- Has strong interpersonal communication skills
- Enables members to feel engaged in the project.
- Delegates responsibility effectively
- Encourages team members to come up with creative ideas
- Has the autonomy to iteratively evolve processes, workflows, and collaboration methods as needed, based upon project demands.
It takes strong communication skills by team leads to make sure people have the information they need to do their jobs, and to ensure team members feel “plugged-in” and engaged. Those who are naturally extroverts tend to more easily succeed in team leadership. However, even others with fewer “people skills” can learn.
- It’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate
- Be responsive. Follow-up promptly to requests from your team.
- Encourage dialogue so members feel comfortable speaking their mind
- Remember that a voice only discussion does not provide important visual cues. Learn to compensate by asking for clarity anytime an issue is not well understood.