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How to Build Strategic Leadership for Effective Remote Teams

We love working remote: greater flexibility, enhanced work-life balance, and closer access to the couch for a lunchtime nap. With all the upsides WFH culture offers, challenges remain. One of those is that it can be more difficult to lead a team effectively when you don’t physically see each other every day.  

Yet over these past few years, with the prevalence of employees working from home or via a hybrid schedule, leaders have risen to the occasion and found ways to lead their teams positively, regardless of the physical distance from each other. If you find yourself leading a remote team, here are some actionable ways to start building more strategic leadership for WFH and hybrid workplaces.

1. Collaboration tools are your best friend  

Slack. Teams. Zoom.  

These collaboration tools became increasingly popular (more like mission critical) as more and more professionals began working from home. They’re just three in a long list of software and platforms essential for remote teams.  

As a leader, utilizing and encouraging these tools to facilitate teamwork helps promote effective collaboration and information sharing. It’s how you communicate, and as you know, open and frequent communication with team members is a vital function of a good leader.  

2. Regular check-ins are key 

Again, communication that’s open and frequent is part of what makes a good leader stand out.  Beyond a weekly 1:1 that gets down to business, schedule regular check-ins with your team to provide feedback, address concerns or challenges, and offer support.  

You can also use these check-ins to assess progress and provide recognition for achievements. Be sure to ask about their personal lives, too — it’s a small way to show you care.   

3. Have some fun!  

Even though you might not be in the same room as your team, you can still put in some work to foster social connections and team bonding through virtual team-building activities, informal chats, or even virtual coffee breaks.  

4. Encourage team members’ professional development 

Opportunities for professional development grow tenfold when you dive deep into online offerings. You can show support for your team’s growth by encouraging them to search for relevant virtual training sessions, online courses, or mentorship programs.  

Better yet, if you come across an opportunity that would be a great fit for one of your team members, drop them a link and a quick note regarding why you think it’d be a perfect experience for them to level up their skills.  

5. Put well-being at the forefront                                                         

Fact: An employee with higher morale tends to be more productive, engaged, and loyal to their current organization. This means encouraging a healthy work-life balance and prioritizing their mental health. Take time to check in with your team members often to ensure they’re taking breaks, managing stress levels, and maintaining their overall well-being. You can do so by showing empathy and providing resources for mental health support if needed.

Distilled

Being an effective leader can be done even if your team consists of work-from-home or hybrid employees. All you need are the skills to adapt, communicate and foster trust.  

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Lindsey Giardino

Lindsey Giardino is a freelance writer based in Iowa. She's worked with clients ranging in industries from higher education to healthcare to technology and beyond. She dubs herself a lifelong learner, an avid reader, a sub-par cook, and a tries-her-best mom to two little boys.

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