Managing Remote Teams: 5 Tips for Success

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The rise of remote work has revolutionized the way businesses operate. With the shift towards remote work, managing a remote team has become a crucial part of effective leadership. However, many managers struggle to navigate this new terrain and require guidance on how to manage a remote team effectively.

Managing a remote team requires a unique set of skills, including active listening, problem-solving, trust-building, and compassion. A good manager must set clear expectations, communicate frequently, and provide regular feedback to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Furthermore, utilizing management software tools can help streamline the process and improve communication within the team. Celebrating successes and recognizing individual contributions are also essential to foster teamwork and motivating team members.

In this episode, we will explore the key elements of managing a remote team, including essential skills, tools, and techniques to help you navigate the challenges of remote work. 

You will learn how to set clear expectations, communicate effectively, and create a positive team culture that fosters collaboration and innovation. 

Join us as we share practical tips and strategies for managing a remote team successfully. Whether you're a seasoned manager or just starting out, this episode is a must-watch for anyone looking to build a successful remote team.

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Read the Full Transcript

How in the world am I going to manage this virtual team?

Yeah, that's probably the question you're asking yourself right now if you've just hired virtual staff for the first time, right? And it's all becoming super real to you right now that I've got to figure out how to manage these people. And they're virtual, I don't even know what they're doing. How do I do this? Well guess what guys, that's what we're going to be discussing today on the Build Your Team show. I am your host, Atiba, and we're here to help you figure out how you can build a fantastic team for your business so that your business can grow and scale. That's what we're all about here. 

Let's dive into this topic because it's a really, really big one. Because it's one thing to get over the hurdle and say "Okay, I'm going to hire a virtual staff". It's the next thing to say "Here's what I need and what I'm looking for in virtual staff". And then to go out and find the talent and hire the talent. Now they're in and you got to figure out how to manage them. Now the real work begins! So let's talk about it. I've got 5 tips for you, okay? 5 tips that we're going to go through.

Number 1, it starts with a good manager. And this is the most important. It starts with you. It starts with you! One of the challenges, I'm not gonna call it a problem, one of the challenges that people often face early in their management career of others, is they think of all the things that have been done to them, and they start to get a little bit of payback. Now you don't never call it payback but you think about the way you were treated and you treat people in those ways too. And guess what? That ain't right. It ain't right. It ain't. It ain't. That does not make you a good manager. 

You have to consider, how is it that you want to treat your people? How is it that you're going to be fair to your people? How is it that you going to be right to your people? And, and here's the key and most critical part, how is it that I am going to lead by first, taking responsibility and ownership for where things don't go well. Listen, this is a real thing, okay? And you've got to do it, and I know it feels like "Well, I'm the boss and why should I"-- No, that's exactly why you have to do it because you're the boss. You're the boss. 

When things go right, you give credit to your team. When things go wrong, you take the blame. You take the blame and it's not just a trite "Oh, I take the blame!". You actually have to own the blame and own fixing the problem. 

Let me give you a real example. So we've got somebody on my team and great guy and does great work. And we had a meeting last week and in that meeting, we set some priorities of tasks to do, okay? And we set them out and we set them in the meeting in order and said "Okay, these are the things that have to get done". Then after the meeting, I remembered something else that I needed to add to his task list. So since we weren't in a meeting, I went to his task board and I just added it on there.

And I added it on there before he had a chance to add in the tasks that we had just talked about and I put it as the top priority. So when he came in, he saw that as top priority, and so he started working on that thing first. And put that over everything else that we'd already talked about. Well, yeah, that wasn't right. It wasn't right. Now, can I get upset? Sure. Can I yell and scream? Sure. Can I say it was his fault? Sure. But what would I do? Nothing, other than create a bad situation between me and him. But I had to realize this was my fault. It was my fault. Because I gave him direction in the meeting and then direction outside of the meeting, and I didn't qualify both of them. That's on me, not on him. It's on me. You may say "Well, but he made an assumption. He should have asked!" Sure, he could have done that but guess what? It's my fault because I didn't give a clear instruction, okay? That's why you must be a good leader. You must be a good manager. That's the number 1 thing.

You have to be a good manager and in that situation, I took responsibility and said "Okay, well, here's what we're going to do instead. And here's how we're going to fix the problem that I created in the future". No need to be upset with him. So that's the first thing. That's the first thing. 

The second thing, which we kind of touched about, I was just talking about, is you got to set clear expectations. Clear expectations. And what I mean by clear expectations is not clear in your head. Not clear in your thinking, but clear expectations in the mind of your staff. So, if you think you've set expectations, then you need to ask your staff to explain to you in their own words, what the expectations are, what the priorities are, what you believe is about to happen.

Get them to explain it back to you so that you understand that they understand. Because just because you said it, and it made sense in here, doesn't mean it made sense out there to them. So set clear expectations and then get them to explain the expectations to you, so that you know that you're both on the same page. So that's number 2.

Number 3, communicate excessively. With your virtual staff, you must over-communicate. It's better to repeat yourself and repeat yourself and repeat yourself than to say it once and have it get lost in text message or email, chat or anything else. It's important to communicate excessively.

Will it get a little bit annoying? Yes. Will there be times when you feel like "You know, I said this already"? Yeah, you will, but guess what? That's what's called being a manager. That's what's called being a manager. And you're going to have to repeat what you said. You're going to have to make sure it's clear. You're going to have to say-- you know, I had, I had somebody teach me this 20 odd years ago. In order for somebody to understand something, you have to say it to them 7 times, 7 different ways from 7 different people. Think about that for a moment, before they understand. So if you just said at once, they probably didn't get it.

Say it. Say it again. Say it again. It's okay. And every time you say it, say it slightly differently so that they can hear it slightly differently, and they can ask slightly different questions to gain clarity because that's the key. 

Number 4, use management software tools. This is, I mean, you gotta have this. You gotta have tools and you gotta standardize on your tool set. Now, there are tons of tools out there. You have to choose the tool that's best for you and best for your organization and best for the way you work and want to work in the projects that you have, okay? Not all tools are created equal. Not all solutions will work for all businesses.

And if you choose a tool today and it doesn't work, change. Don't stay with a tool that's not being productive for you, that's not working well. There are new tools popping up all the time. So think about tools. You got to have calendar management. How are your staff and you going to sync calendar? Are they going to use something like Calendly, where you publish your calendar and they can choose times to talk to you and they can book with you. You got to have some sort of calendar management. 

You have to have communication. How are you going to communicate back and forth with them? Are you going to use WhatsApp? Are you going to use text messaging? Are you going to use email? Are you going to use Slack? What are you going to use for communication back and forth?

File share is another one and file repository. Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive. There's so many different choices but you've got to choose which one is going to work for you, okay? All right? 

Time tracking. There are tons of the time tracking tools as well. Which one is going to be right for you? You have to look at all of them and figure out what your needs are and determine which one you're going to use. 

Then project management, again, here we've used, we started off using Trello. We're currently switching from Trello because we've kind of outgrown Trello and some of our needs. And so we've outgrown Trello and so we're in the process of switching to Notion, okay? And looking at Notion to now do all of our project management. And guess what? In the midst of the switching to Notion, we're finding things about Notion that we don't like, that we realize "Man, we're going to outgrow that soon too!". And so we may be onto another tool and that's okay.

Don't get stuck in a tool. Don't get stuck in a tool. Now, I will put links down below to all the tools that we use. Again, these are tools that I use, that my team uses. They work really well for us, for what we do. They may suck for you and that's okay. Find the tools that work, okay? 

And then number 5. Number 5. Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! Recognize success. When your team does good, when they celebrate a little list of things, celebrate with the person who did it, and with the team. Just send a message, a group message to everybody! Celebrate. Keep morale high. Super important in remote teams, okay? Because people don't get to see and feel the excitement of being together because something good happened, something good happened, and they're just sitting in their own home by themselves.

They don't get the comradery and so you have to manufacture that. You have to create that for them. And the way you do that is by celebrating loudly and openly with everyone, okay? 

So guys, those are our 5 tips there for managing your remote team. Again, it starts with you, starts with being a good manager, you've got to set clear expectations, you've got to communicate, and communicate, and communicate, and communicate, and over communicate. Number 4, use management software and tools, okay? To help you and then the fifth thing is celebrate the successes. Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! 

All right. Hope this was helpful for you in learning to manage. If you've got questions, feel free to reach out to me. Drop me a line. We love to hear from you. Leave a comment down below if you're on YouTube. I would love to hear from you. Love to hear how you're managing. And if you've got tips that you want to add to this too, let me know that too. Because I'm not here saying I know everything. I'm just telling you what's worked for me.

 Alright, everybody! Talk to you later! Bye-bye!

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