Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council
Many business leaders will eventually find themselves out of the office, whether for client meetings, conferences, presentations or other business-related tasks. These out-of-office days—in addition to the remote team structure many companies are moving toward—can mean employees are often working without much supervision.
To be an effective business leader, it’s important you are confident that things will run smoothly when you are unable to physically be in the office, especially if you’ll be unreachable. To help give you peace of mind, the experts at Forbes Coaches Council shared 10 steps leaders can take to set their team and business up for success while they’re gone.
1. Create A Culture Of Trust
When you create a team built on trust and transparency, you will have a group of loyal and productive employees who will go out on a limb for you and the organization. Learn to trust them and give them the latitude to do their jobs without feeling like they are being watched. Productivity levels will increase, whether you are in the office or not, and you will have more time to focus on other priorities. - Daisy Wright, The Wright Career Solution
2. Make Time For Face-To-Face Meetings
Leaders who spend a lot of time out of the office still have some time each month or every other month to sit down with their teams. Don't use your spotty presence as an excuse. You likely schedule your presentations, conferences and other off-site meetings in advance, so prioritize your team meetings that way as well, and stick to them. Doing so will create a reliable presence for your people. - Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC
3. Develop Context And Guidelines
Create context by crafting core principles that will provide the foundation, inspiration and direction for your team. All work and visions should align with the principles—they'll act as a guiding presence for deliveries and behavior. This macro view creates aligned independence. Also develop clear micro communication channels and models for how and when to proactively communicate to different levels. - Joanne Markow, GreenMason
4. Communicate Clear Standards
My experience of working in a productive remote setup and of observing CEOs leading remote management teams has taught me that outcome-based supervision is key. Leaders who clearly communicate what needs to be achieved and set clear standards for the quality of work expected do not have to worry about how their team members are going about their work. Set specific goals and trust your people. - Vamsi Tetali, ghSMART
5. Delegate Authority
Streamline the decision-making process. Any time you delegate a task, you should also delegate authority. Remove senior managers from the decision-making process as much as possible. Then empower people to use the delegated authority. It may sound risky, but all you are doing is giving them formal permission to do their job fully and not push the small decisions up the ladder. - Marina Cvetkovic, The Peak Alliance
6. Use A Kanban Board
Using agile strategies such as Kanban can help maintain workflows visually as well as, at minimum, keep the work in progress. Implementing a virtual Kanban board will allow for maximum visibility for the leaders on the go, as well as promote collaboration, self-management and accountability for everyone in the team, project or company. - Peter Jansen, Radio Latino Inc
7. Have Regular Virtual Check-Ins
Regular check-ins with the team are important to keep remote employees accountable and feel connected to the team and their goals. That could be a daily or weekly virtual call where everyone gives their feedback on how they feel they are doing and where they need support. It can be done in less than a minute per person. Regular check-ins as a whole team help individuals see their integral part. - Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC
8. Provide Consistent Inspiration
It is important that leaders understand that their greatest value is inspiring others, not task management. Hire the right team and check in often to refresh connections and provide inspirational motivation. Discuss roadblocks and challenges in your check-ins and encourage them to reach out whenever they hit new ones. Doing this will enable you to lead teams anywhere without needing to be there. - Tony Mickle, Big Box Coaching
9. Stop Micromanaging
It is critical to align yourself with people you can trust. It can be tempting to micromanage people. However, when leaders do that, havoc occurs when they are not present. It is essential to develop people’s abilities to handle operations, otherwise when you are not around it will be a shock to the system. - Dr. Diane Hamilton, Tonerra
10. Create Engagement Metrics
Find out daily and weekly how your remote teams feel engaged and create metrics that help them measure what engagement and productive work behavior means. This does not have to be draconian, micromanagement-type rule enforcement. Set goals together with these teams and help them measure the presence without you. Surveys, one-on-one talks via Skype and phone calls can create a culture of accountability. - John M. O'Connor, Career Pro Inc.
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