My Guide to Managing Remote Teams
Leading a growing company going through lots of changes and hiring lots of people can be extremely tough. Add on top of that the fact that you are hours away from some of your locations only adds to the chaos. For us, that looks like a total of nine locations spread across the state. There are a handful of things that I do to ensure that we are all united as one team, and every team member feels valued.
I make it a point to let all of my team know that not only is communication important, but over-communication is critical. It’s the only way we stay in touch about daily and weekly happenings that aren’t always covered in larger staff meetings. People need to know that while they are expected to troubleshoot and not bring every little issue to someone on leadership, they are still likely to keep key people informed. With all the ways to communicate that we have today, my team knows how I prefer to stay in touch – but they also know that when they need me, I am always available to them.
We have a culture that nurtures familiarity. Skyping or FaceTiming is excellent, but it’s nothing compared to being in a room with someone. Even though we are a large team that is spread out geographically, we do many things in person together like staff meetings, charity events and fun team outings like rock climbing or bowling. There are a lot of fun things we do via email to keep in touch and keep each other motivated, like ‘Motivation Monday’ and ‘Wisdom Wednesday’ newsletters, where we share helpful tidbits that pump us up and make us better at our jobs. It’s small things like that which make up the culture of a company.
Other members of my leadership team and I visit all of our locations regularly. This helps me to get a sense of how things are going in each location, from the patient experience to see first-hand what it is like to work at my company on any given day at any location. It also provides me with an opportunity to touch base with my team, even if just for a brief moment.
The most significant thing I can say is this: regularly talk about the things that matter the most to you. For me, it is the survival of the business, protection of the culture, the mission and the core values, and my expectations of everyone. Some might call me a broken record, but you cannot say the critical things enough when you are leading a team remotely.