More and more teams are working remotely — from each other and their leaders. This can lead to many challenges, not the least of which is creating collaboration among this team when needed. This challenge becomes more prevalent as the nature of work changes and the world gets smaller. And while part of the answer is technology tools, it isn’t the full answer. As a leader, you need to provide/make available the tools the team needs. You want to find, with the help of your IT team or on the internet, tools that promote connection, document and idea sharing, real-time collaboration and more.
But as a leader, your role is broader than that, and I suspect that is what you are really asking me. Here are three things to do to create better collaboration at a distance:
Expect it — Don’t let distance, time zones, etc., become an excuse from your team members. Get the team on board with the vision that they truly are a team and sell them on the value of collaborating.
Model it — Ask people regularly if they are working together on problem solving, and make that a part of your normal business. Bring people together on the phone or in other ways to collaborate when you are working on something appropriate. Showing them real-life examples will be a powerful way to show you value them collaborating.
Reward it — Talk about successful collaboration inand whenever you have an opportunity.
You may be thinking these pieces of advice aren’t specifically about remote teams, and you would be correct. Here is the key point: Building collaboration is very similar whether team members are in the next office or the next time zone. The major difference is that you will have to work harder at it when people are remote.
For more resources, tools and ideas for leading a remote team, go to http://RemoteLeadershipInstitute.com.