They say that trust is the foundation of any good relationship. That goes for business relationships as well as personal ones. The trust between a boss and a subordinate is a profound one and it is something that goes both ways. Just as a bad employee can make a manager reconsider hiring them, a poor boss will lead to massive turnover rates and low employee morale, resulting in a direct impact on the bottom line. In the current climate, leaders have been challenged to show their ability to adapt and maintain a hard-working loyal staff, and they have to do it remotely. The level of trust this involves is no small feat, but there are ways to still lead your team without turning the tide of discord into one of negativity.
The first step in successful leadership, remote or in person, is thru validation and collaboration. This is true in any leadership situation but the business world culture has stopped glorifying the old methods of authoritarian leadership and has embraced a more democratic one. But listening to your employees’ suggestions for problem-solving and including them in the decisions being made, you are validating them and making them feel heard. This is an instant morale booster, something that is sorely needed at a time when people are living in unprecedented times.
Transparency is another important step when leading remotely. Throughout this past year, people have felt isolated and alone, and many have lost their jobs. As a leader, it falls upon you to reassure your staff by giving regular company updates. This goes for good news as well as bad. There’s no easier way to lighten up your team’s spirits than with a good quarterly report.
Accountability is important, but there is a way to make it non-suffocating. Set up a scheduled meeting time that works for the department and the company as a whole. Smaller teams might benefit from a daily check-in, while larger departments might need a weekly review. Make sure to give everyone the opportunity to share what is working and not working for them, as far as procedures and deadlines. For many of your employees, this will be the only social interaction they get with their coworkers.