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As soon as people knew we were writing a book about remote leadership (now released and titled The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership), people started asking for one nugget or idea that would help them lead remote team members more effectively.
But before I came to this simple answer to a complex question, I thought about some of the things that are more challenging about leading people at a distance. Some of the big differences and challenges that people ask about include:
- How do I coach at a distance?
- How do I build relationships at a distance?
- How to I build trust at a distance?
- How to I communicate at a distance?
All of these are good questions, worthy of reflection, study, trial, error and success.
You know the old joke about people working down the hall or in the next cubicle and emailing each other rather than talking? That wouldn’t be a joke if a) it didn’t happen, and b) it didn’t point to problems in that workplace.
When your team is remote from each other it is no joke.
You can’t get up, walk down the hall or aisle and say hello, and so people resort to email, not out of convenience or avoidance, but out of necessity.
Any of us would say to that office of emailers to get up from their desk and talk to people. My advice for a remote leader and their team members is similar. Shut off your email and turn on your webcam. Email isn’t the right tool for a conversation, and while a video call isn’t quite the same as being across the desk, it is pretty close.
Shut off your email and turn on your webcam.
How might long-distance leaders connect with long-distance teams and employees?
Kevin Eikenberry is a world renowned leadership expert, a three-time bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer, coach, leader, learner, husband and father (not necessarily in that order).
His new book, co-authored with Wayne Turmel The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership is the handbook for remote leaders wanting to get better results for their teams and organizations. You can learn more about Kevin and his team at https://KevinEikenberry.com and https://RemoteLeadershipInstitute.com