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Volume 6, Issue 25

How to Maximize Communication When Leading Remotely

Being an effective leader requires good communication skills. This is especially true when leading remotely, writes one communication expert.

"I lead both remote and in-office teams, and the main challenge I've experienced is the lack of in-person interactions you have with your team," writes Michelle Martin, senior vice president of professional services for Edgenet, in a post on the Smart Business blog. "To overcome this, a remote leader must take advantage of all other forms of communication."

Technology has made communication easier for off-site leaders, but instant messaging or videoconferences alone won't make for top-notch leadership. Martin offers these best practices to follow when leading teams remotely.

Have regular meetings. These virtual get-togethers are essential for making sure that everyone understands the project and the goals and has the information needed to move ahead. Using Skype or Google Hangouts allows leaders to read facial expressions and body language during tele-meetings. Martin suggests using one-on-one phone calls to discuss "heavy projects." For fast-paced teams, consider a brief daily phone call to stay on top of events.

Build relationships. Martin writes it is imperative for a remote leader to establish a level of trust and comfort with her staff. Make a special trip to meet a new team member in person and spend a few days training him personally. When on-site, engage in team-building activities; go to lunches and dinners with team members to strengthen relationships.

Show appreciation. Reward team members for a job well done. "From sending flowers to a sick team member, to recognizing an employee for going above and beyond on a specific project, it's essential to show appreciation to your team," adds Martin. "You, the department and the company certainly wouldn't be where you are without them."

This article is from the Advancement Weekly, January 9, 2017 issue.

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