Skills to lead a distributed team through uncertain times
In this current time of enormous change, people are searching for the qualities to be a great leader when dealing with uncertainty and new ways of working. This is even more important as we change from centralised working to more flexible and remote options.
There are certain qualities and skills that every leader should embody, such as integrity and objectivity.
But other characteristics need to come to the fore during times of disruption and change. The type of qualities that will help you navigate your teams through the challenges they face. Particularly when being faced with leading a distributed team.
This is the number one leadership skill and most critical on the list.
A leader must be the master communicator. They need to share the strategic vision going forward with the team members. Let them know where they are headed and how they are going to get there.
All communication needs to be clear, concise, consistent, and often repeated.
Ensure the vision is widely understood and front and centre in everyone’s mind.
In times of challenge or disruption, decisions need to be made quickly.
Leaders must drive execution.
Granted, sometimes this must be done without the best level of input and information. The key is to make decisions that are good at the time and then pivot if necessary when new information comes to light.
Leaders see the challenges they face as opportunities for growth and further expansion. Not only for themselves but their teams. They can instinctively rally collaboration, creativity, and resources to capitalise on the opportunities before them.
Successful leaders engage the entire team and key stakeholders around a shared vision and goals. Yes, this is difficult when working remotely, but they call on all their tools and skills to engage the right people.
These groups help solve problems and navigate roadblocks, but they will also become voices to the vision. Helping communicate it broadly and inspire others to get on board.
Integrity builds Credibility
Integrity is always important, but when leading through change, it becomes critical.
Acting with consistency and reliability, being a moral compass, and remaining calm in a time of high stress builds your credibility.
People trust you and will follow you to execute the vision.
You need to be bold, brave and confidant to make the tough decisions and act on them. Then remain optimistic even if times are tricky and you must counter pessimism from all sides.
Inspiring and motivating others to take ownership of solutions and jobs through challenging times. Repeatedly call out their dedication and achievements. Let them know the work they do is valuable to the team going forward.
You must never lose sight of the fact that we are all human!
People need to know they are being heard, and you understand what they are feeling. Feelings of fear, resentment and anger are common during times of disruption.
Come from a place of curiosity and understanding to address these issues so you can bring them along the journey and not leave them behind.
Let us know what you think about leading a remote team, or if you have any questions about developing leadership skills to work with people remotely.