Effective team management can be demanding even in a normal work environment. Now, faced with worldwide social distancing and increasing city and country-wide lockdowns, team leaders are facing new challenges while having to adjust to remote project management, so, try to avoid these 5 mistakes.
Reset your expectations for your team’s performance and your long-term goals for your business. Your team will most likely be accustomed to their social workspace, their schedule and physical orientation in the workplace, and how they interact with co-workers and collaborate on projects. You are going to have to help them to adjust to their new normal, provide an example of effective remote working, including deadlines for work and how this is accomplished, and shifting responsibilities to allow more individual flexibility and personal accommodation.
It can be easy to misread information when you aren’t able to discuss things face-to-face, so consider the best channel of communication for what you are trying to get across: for specific details like deadlines, a message or email may be best, to allow your team to have a physical reminder and reduce the likelihood of mix-ups. On the other hand, trying to explain concepts and ideas can be difficult through written communication, so it may be more prudent to organize a video call where your team can ask questions and offer creative input.
Erica Goss, a team leader at Boomessays and Bigassignments, says: “It is vital when communicating projects, tasks, deadlines and expectations, and status updates, to avoid misinterpreting emotional cues in written communication, inflections and tone in vocal communication, and physical gestures in video communication.”
It is crucial to provide a sense of structure and maintained organization during a time of change and uncertainty. Keep your team members fully and regularly updated. Sharing calendars creates an environment of transparency, ensuring each team member’s availability, progress, and needs can be easily tracked by everyone involved.
As team leader or project manager, you are responsible for setting the standard and providing an example of how you expect your team to work. You will need to adapt quickly to your new remote work dynamic, by getting into the habit of checking in with your team members on a regular basis. This doesn’t just mean communicating with the team as a whole regarding the project, but also checking in with individual employees to see how they are handling things.
Keith Lackey, a project manager at Australianhelp and Paperfellows, explains: “This would ideally be in the form of frequent, but quick, check-ups to sustain working relationships and boost morale and team engagement. Communicate even when there is not a particular issue or task to discuss – this will help avoid unnecessary stress for your team by eliminating uncertainty.”
Having said this, over-communicating with your team members can be seriously damaging to your team’s productivity and motivation. Avoid micromanaging by trusting that you chose the right people for the job and make sure they know this: communicate your expectations and plans and keep a channel for open conversation available. Further, distribute responsibility among team members by organizing peer coaches and project partners to encourage cooperation, as well as adding another layer of accountability and mutual support.
Encourage communication and collaboration between team members in an effort to create a culture of inclusion and transparency for your team. While employees are unable to socialize in person while working remotely, promote regular social interaction through messages and video calls between team members.
Adjusting to management during social distancing can be challenging, especially if you are not used to working remotely from home and managing a geographically dispersed team. The most common themes running throughout these remote managing mistakes are being organized and prepared for the changes you will need to make to adjust to working while social distancing, namely focusing on cultivating a productive working environment through open and effective communication.
How are you effectively leading your remote team? Let us know in the comments below.
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