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Lead From Anywhere

August 5, 2022

By Mary E. Corrado, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

I hear a lot of talk around remote and hybrid work for employees, but not as much about leading from a remote location.  While there might be some unique challenges in leading from afar, great leaders can lead from anywhere.

Tom Gimbel, a leadership expert and CEO of Chicago-based employment agency LaSalle Network, says that great leadership is all about “compassionate accountability.”  He claims that it doesn’t matter if a leader is in the office next door or 5,000 miles away as long as these strategies are being utilized:

  1. Respect your colleagues’ boundaries – Examples of respecting boundaries include recognizing time zone differences, understanding that family emergencies come up, respecting unique work environments, and recognizing mental health struggles.
  2. Hold regular one-on-one meetings – These meetings allow you, the leader, to set expectations and the employee to share their successes and challenges with you. One-on-one meetings help to maintain and improve employee engagement. Don’t let out of site mean out of mind. The ASE team is a combination of hybrid and remote employees and managers.  I hold monthly one-on-one meetings with my direct reports and also have them send me weekly one-on-one forms that outline their current challenges and progress towards goals. In addition, we hold weekly team huddles.  Communication is key when managing a virtual workforce.
  3. Show others you care – This is crucial in a remote work setting. I liked one of the suggestions Gimble offers – using old fashioned ways of communication to show you care and appreciate your employees.  Send them a hand-written thank you card.  We are so used to the quickness of technology and just sending a quick email or chat.  But consider writing out a note and sending it in the mail.  It can go a long way.

ASE’s partner, McLean & Company, offers many resources for training your managers to lead effectively while working remote.  Some highlights of their advice back-up Gimble’s strategies listed above.

  • Managing virtual teams does not require developing new manager competencies. Instead, managers need to “dial up” competencies they already have and adjust their approaches.
  • Setting clear expectations with virtual teams creates the foundation needed to manage them effectively.
  • Virtual employees crave more meaningful interactions about performance and development with their managers.
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