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Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management are different skills, but today’s leaders must have both. Try out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to understand the difference, as well as when and why each skill is necessary for motivation, communication, and value.

The jury is still out on whether remote work should become the norm. Some firmly believe we’ve entered a new era. We have new technology for video conferencing, scheduling meetings, and managing productivity. Not to mention, the ease of working from home has eliminated stressful commutes and distracting workplace chatter.

Others feel that if they never join another video call, it’ll be too soon.

Whether you believe building relationships must be done face to face or not, the future of work is at least hybrid. As such, remote teams are (to varying degrees) the new reality for everyone.

Darren Menabney is lead of global employee engagement at Ricoh Co. Ltd., as well as a lecturer at GLOBIS University. In his online course, Leading High-Performing Remote Teams, he talks about common challenges for anyone leading remotely and the components every remote manager should consider.

Below is a transcribed excerpt of his course.

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Transcript:

Reimagining TLC for Leading Remote Teams

Darren Menabney: There are a lot of ways to be unsuccessful with remote work. There are a few ways to be successful at remote work.

What really distinguishes successful from unsuccessful remote work is understanding the key factors involved. I like to call those TLC:

  • Technology
  • Leadership
  • Culture

You have to manage each of those to be able to work and lead remotely.

Look at leadership. Leadership of any team is vital for a team’s success. Any team must collaborate and communicate to achieve its goals. But you have to do that differently when you’re not working physically in the same location—when you’re working remotely.

Servant Leadership

There's more to leadership than driving a team to profit. In fact, there's a word for looking beyond self-interest to prioritize individual growth: servant leadership. Try this course for a quick breakdown of what that is, how it works, and how it can lead to organizational success.

Therefore, to be a remote team leader, or even a member of a remote team, a different kind of leadership is required. You have to think differently, act differently, use technology differently, and manage people differently in a remote environment than if you were all working in the same office physically located together.

“There are a lot of ways to be unsuccessful with remote work. There are a few ways to be successful at remote work.”

Defining Leadership for On-Site or Remote Workers

Menabney: There are many ways to define leadership. But I like to just think of it as aligning a group of people around a common goal and acting on that goal.

So as a leader in business, you’re leading a team. You may be a formal leader, you may be a formal manager, or you may be leading a project. It’s getting that group of people, that team, together, or even an organization together if you’re a more senior leader.

Getting everyone aligned and getting the work done, looking at the outcomes, communicating, collaborating—that is what leadership is all about. And we do that, of course, by not just talking about the work, but by inspiring and motivating people.

I think that inspiration and motivation is what distinguishes a leader from just a manager.

The Unique Challenges of Leading Remotely

Menabney: Leading in a remote environment is not the same as leading in a physical office plus having a web camera. It’s very different, and so we have to lead a bit differently when we’re leading remotely.

One of the key things you have to do effectively as a remote team leader is what I call “over-communication.”

You have to communicate more and in different ways—over-communicate in terms of quality and quantity, and in terms of how we communicate using different technologies—in a remote environment.

We’re not seeing the same people every day as we would when we’re working together, as well.

So we have to compensate for that by communicating more. By having more check-ins. By having more one-to-ones. By doing this using email, possibly, or using chat or using video or telephone—whatever is best for the person you’re communicating with.

We have to do a lot more of that to be a remote team leader.

Team Bonding and Building Trust from Afar

Menabney: We have to get better as a remote team leader at building trust remotely, as well.

Trust is necessary for any team to succeed. But when you’re in a remote team, you have to build trust in different ways. Particularly if your remote team is a global team and you have to build trust or communicate with people who are in different countries and time zones. People who you may never meet in person!

This is a key challenge, but also a key opportunity, that comes with leading remote teams.

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