As the modern workplace evolves, the days of your whole team being located down the hall are changing. In fact, Fuze’s own research has found that 83 percent of employees don’t think they need to be in an office space to be productive. Companies are increasingly realizing the importance of flexible work, and as a result, we are seeing more diversification of remote and distributed policies permeating across every industry.
To build a strong, productive team under the expansion of these policies, business leaders must adapt to the needs of a new employee landscape. Although managing a remote team may seem like uncharted territory for many managers, this shift in the workforce brings about an opportunity for leaders to focus on growing a skill set that they have yet to explore.
Identifying the skills of a great manager can help leaders learn how to embrace modern workforce trends and create an environment of collaboration and productivity whether their team members are at HQ, at a home office, or working on-the-go at an airport. Here are our top 5 most valuable principles of a great manager:
1. Culture first
Company culture is not always easy to implement and scale with a largely remote or distributed employee base; as a manager, it is your job to make it a priority. Creating the expectation of an open and flexible working culture from day one can help employees feel more comfortable in their roles and perform at their strongest, reaching maximum productivity. But, how? At Fuze, management style has a heavy focus on individual preferences and goals. This means that we take the time to get to know employees and learn what they expect and need from the company. Once a company feels confident in their culture, they can begin to focus on individual contributors and their innovation and creativity that drives their product base.
2. Engage employees
Managing a team, whether only remote for two days of the week or distributed globally, mandates new ways to think about engagement. This means that managers need to get creative with tactics they choose to keep employees feeling involved and valued. Our management embraces a unified platform to best blur the lines between chat, voice, and video so that our teams can choose the mode they prefer to get their best work done.
3. Lead by example
When your team isn’t always down the hall, managers must lead by example and be thoughtful in how they interact with their teams. This means making the extra effort weekly to engage in water cooler conversation over chat with your team or getting every member involved in a bi-weekly challenge with incentives. Fuze managers implement a video-first rule for internal team meetings, encouraging employees to use video during conference calls. If you’re encouraging the use of video, your camera should always be on, showing employees that you are not only engaged in the conversation, but that you want them to feel the same.
4. Encourage feedback
Encouraging open and honest communication between leaders and their reports ensures each employee is given every opportunity to do their best work in the most supportive environment. For example, it’s critical that team morale and confidence remain high, so successful managers should regularly ask for input and constructive criticism to put feedback into action. With these strategies, teams grow stronger, faster, and smarter. Prioritizing this type of feedback builds a frequent channel of communication that will ultimately encourage an increased sense of collaboration.
5. Prioritize an in-person meeting cadence
Creating time to meet face-to-face with employees is critical to maintaining the rapport you’ve worked hard to build.. Consider a regular check in, whether it be monthly or quarterly, requiring your team to get together in-person for a conference, meeting or outing. This face-to-face time can make a difference in the way a team interacts each day even when they aren’t working side-by-side. Get your team excited about these planned meetings to keep them motivated to encourage both professional and personal bonding.
A great company starts with its leaders. Managing a team, whether fully remote or in your office headquarters, can seem like a challenging process, but creating a sense of culture and fostering an engaging environment at the outset makes all the difference in your teams’ development and growth.