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Leadership in Fully Remote Teams

Leadership in Fully Remote Teams

Remote working, or telecommuting, has been around since the 1970s but has only made a measurable shift in adoption in the past ten years. Technology improvements in communication and security makes it possible for people to work from wherever & whenever. Remote workers need guidance and leadership like traditional co-located employees. You must use different leadership methods to be a successful remote leader.
Leading a traditional team in a physical office is a demanding role but has years of training and resources available to learn from. Leading a remote team is a newer concept and there isn't a real well-defined way of how leaders should operate in these environments. Remote teams can be set up in different ways which each affect how leaders run their teams.
In this session, you'll learn ways to help manage your remote workers in ways that'll support them to be productive and prevent you from coming across as a micro-manager. Remote working brings a whole set of challenges that should be addressed by every employee and it's a good leader's role to make sure nobody is blocked by them. You'll also learn the importance of cultural bias and how it can affect communication and team harmony. Lastly you'll find out how critical regular feedback is and how to put in place with your teams. Throughout the session you'll get some tips on tools and processes that you can start to use immediately.

Aaron Douglas

August 08, 2019

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  4. Show of hands: fully remote, already team lead, mixed remote,

  5. Team Self-Care Focus Collaboration Trust A lot of what I’m

    covering applies to leadership in general. This is my perspective from my personal experience.
  6. Here’s my team at a recent meetup; I can tell

    you a story about every one of these people London, Argentina, Kansas, nomadic, me, Boston, Prague, Milwaukee, Tennessee and Montreal But a team doesn’t magically happen overnight. It starts with hiring.
  7. Who here is involved in hiring? Self-starters, hiring process at

    Automattic, can be more solitary, great communicators, hard to hire juniors right now but remote is commonplace Huge investment of time but the whole team is involved
  8. Check-lists, buddies, retrospectives, adapt the process, chaos, expectations clear

  9. Probably the most important thing you can do as a

    team lead is regularly privately speak with each team member
  10. You don’t necessarily have to like your coworkers, but the

    team should respect each other and genuinely want everyone to succeed This feeds into the next big topic, trust
  11. Huge part of a successful team is developing a sense

    of trust between everyone.
  12. Nobody likes a helicopter manager

  13. Psychological safety refers to an individual’s perception of the consequences

    of taking an interpersonal risk or a belief that a team is safe for risk taking in the face of being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive. In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.
  14. Vulnerability as a skill.

  15. Timely and contextual feedback.

  16. I believe the key to successful leadership of a remote

    team is to encourage collaboration amongst your team including yourself.
  17. talk to each other Communication. Remote workers need to communicate

    more and differently in several important ways. A remote team can’t succeed without a trusted system of communication.
  18. Weekly meetings. 1:1s. Text chat in Slack.

  19. Geographically disperse teams get to deal with timezone fun. My

    team is spread across the world. Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Czech Republic, Argentina, US. 14-15 hour spread. If I get New Zealand, eek. Some people just have to make accommodations. We're upfront about this in our hiring process.
  20. You need a way to record things in a way

    that others won’t miss if they’re AFK or working in a timezone not similar to yours. Standups, weekly meetings, weekly wrapups, P2s. You have to trust the system of record.
  21. There needs to be one place where someone can definitively

    find decisions made. No e-mail chains, links to systems you no longer pay for, etc.
  22. In-person Meetups. How many people here do this? Slack effect.

  23. Having gone through a refactoring how I approach work, I

    recognize how important it is to have clear focus on not only what I do as a lead, but ensuring each person on the team has a similar ability to focus. I frequently ask my team how the clarity is with what we're doing.
  24. You and your team need a sense of purpose. They

    need to know their work has impact on the team and also for the company. It's important to show how your team's goals align with the division/company goals in some way.
  25. Your team has goals. Now you need to plan well

    to make sure there is a pipeline of work. It should be clear where the team has to go after this current thing is done. Transparency is very important.
  26. I need to feel accountable for the things assigned to

    me. Anything I commit to do or ask people to do for me, I make sure there is an understanding on why it is important to do it. Knowing your work affects someone else is the biggest motivator to do things on time and correctly.
  27. A super power to have is the ability to smell

    when things are going off course early.
  28. Leadership is hard. It can take a toll on your

    mind, your body, and can affect how you ultimately lead your team. Self-care is important for you and your team.
  29. It’s really easy to always work when you’re remote. Set

    boundaries for yourself and lead by example. Status indicator in Slack; Jason Fried from Basecamp.
  30. Not everyone will get burned out, but it’s pretty common.

    Recognize when you need real time off. Your team also needs time off.
  31. Third party person; mention the program Automattic has. Also mention

    it’s important that you help coach others. There’s a book called the Coaching Habit that is a good introduction on what it means to coach.
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  33. You don’t need to do everything. This is the hardest

    thing to date for me. You’re not giving away stuff that you don’t like to do, you’re empowering people to do a better job at things you do to focus on other important things.
  34. Be prepared to always change stuff up.

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  36. Reach out! Aaron Douglas @astralbodies aaron.blog