Is your leadership letting down your remote team?
As leaders there's plenty that worries us when we first consider turning our companies remote, or even when introducing any level of flexibility into our organizations. We worry our team won't be as productive, they'll become slack or unmotivated, they'll take advantage of our generosity, they won't learn as much or will be harder to train. The list goes on.
More often than not, we're focusing on our team members and how they'll respond to a flexible environment, imagining the absolute worst.
Could it be more productive, however, to be looking at ourselves as leaders? Is it not our responsibility to get the most out of our people, and how could we actually be the ones causing issues with productivity and effectiveness, over and above the attitude of our team members.
As they say, "the fish stinks from the head down"!
I remember hearing this phrase early on in my career as an entrepreneur and leader, and it's stuck with me ever since. When I started turning my companies remote back in 2013, I continued to reflect on this throughout each and every challenge that came up for me.
Here's my three biggest learnings since:
Inspire and engage your people
My role, as CEO / Founder, is to be the visionary of the organization I'm leading. It's to seek out people who share the same passion, vision and values as that of the organization, and entice them to join us. It's to show up each and every day and remind my tribe why we do what we do, what we're working toward and to keep them engaged in what we're creating together. It's on me to remember I can't do this alone, and I need my incredible team to ensure we get there.
Trust your people
I've learned how powerful placing my trust and respect into my team really is. When we show respect to another, and empower them in their roles by trusting them to do to the best of their ability what we hired them to do, our people trust and respect us. When we trust them to manage their own schedule, hours, to do lists, and be a part of the continual improvement of the organizations systems and processes... they do just that. They manage themselves to achieve what they've been hired to achieve. They also grow and learn quickly, and gain confidence as they continue to prove to themselves and to their leaders, just what they're capable of.
Treat your people as people
If someone is not in my office (I don't have an office, but you get the idea) or in my city, or even my country, it does not mean they are any less of a person, or any different to myself or anyone else in the team. Because someone has a different background, culture or upbringing, does not make them a robot. Because someone is in a different role to someone else, does not make them worth less, does not make them want or need less.
One of the most enriching experiences that's come to me through building a global team, has been garnering a deeper understanding of just how similar we all are as humans. How connected we are, and how we all want similar things. Love, freedom, security, respect, etc. We're no different no matter where we're located, what sex or race we are, or what we do within an organization. Each of us is as important as the rest of us, and each of us simply wants to step into our power.
A flexible and remote workplace can be the biggest gift we can give to our team, that will ultimately improve the success of the organization as a whole.
However if you still need convincing, this incredible piece of research conducted by Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom proves that employees are actually more productive when working from home.
It seems it's time for us as leaders to embrace what's possible through introducing flexible and remote work, verses remaining stuck in our place of fear and resistance.