7 rules for leaders to model good behaviour for their remote-working teams

7 rules for leaders to model good behaviour for their remote-working teams

How can business leaders model good behaviour when they’re working remotely and not as visible to their teams? 

Annie Slowgrove, founder and CEO of executive coaching and leadership consultancy Fearless Engagement, talks about how to effectively lead and motivate employees when everyone is working remotely and leaders are not as visible.

You don’t need to be visible to people in order to model good behaviour.

It’s important to remember that we don’t recall how a person behaves, good or bad; what we remember is how they made us feel. And many business leaders, even before this crisis, were invisible to some of their team. Simply put, they didn’t make their teams feel anything.

I’d suggest taking on the mindset that modelling good behaviour is the gold standard, no matter where we are working, whether it be in the office or remotely from home. 

The simplicity of modelling anything is that you need to be the behaviour you want others to model. Just be what you want others to be. 

In my experience, a role model leader is one who inspires those around them and also exhibits leadership excellence in many aspects of their business. 

You’ll find that all inspiring role model leaders follow these six rules:

  1. Present a positive attitude: They are a figure of strength, calm and perseverance at all times, especially during stressful moments. They also have a good, positive attitude overall. This attitude instils the same within their employees. 
  2. Earn and build trust: Being trustworthy is at their core. They walk the talk, follow through on commitments, admit their mistakes openly, they tell the truth. They build trust through integrity of character and an inner need for transparency and honest conversation, no matter the topic. 
  3. Exhibit integrity: They make decisions for the betterment of the business as a whole and not for a personal agenda. They give credit where credit is due and take responsibility for their actions.
  4. Lead and inspire: They lead by example in a responsible manner. Motivating rather than criticising, they strive to inspire team members to reach their full potential. 
  5. Make time for employees: They make time for their people and keep commitments, including meetings. They know that communication is important for any organisation to run smoothly, and they invest time to listen to employee concerns or questions, and to offer advice and wisdom when applicable. They take time to learn about employees their likes, dislikes, needs and wants. They understand and believe that employees are the biggest assets of any organisation and that employees have lives outside of the workplace. 
  6. Empathise, support and encourage: They offer support and encouragement by creating a healthy workplace environment. They take the time to understand any problems or difficulties their employees may be having.

Remember, great leaders inspire us with how they make us feel, not just with what they say. The words they use are just as important as the feelings those words create.

The world is changed by your actions, not your opinions. And great leaders inspire us with their compassion, their connection with us, and their contribution to the world we live (or work) in. 

So, there are 6 rules that a role model leader should follow when managing a team remotely. 

The title of this blog is ‘7 rules…’, but my final point is more a piece of advice than a rule per se.

Remote working is the future that we must all get ready for. We should use the Coronavirus crisis to start our learning now; there really is no better time.

That’s why my one piece of advice to close on is: Remove the word ‘remote’.

Don’t see ‘remote’ leadership as being any different to leadership. We put distance in our mind when we use the word ‘remote’, yet managing someone who is not physically in the room or building with you is no different. Their needs and wants are the same. The communication medium might be different, but the emotions and how to model good leadership are still the same; they always have and will be.

Remove the word ‘remote’ from your management, and the barrier of remoteness will be removed from your leadership mindset. Once you’ve done that, your behaviour will follow suit. And once your employees have an example and a role model to follow, they will know and feel that they’re being led, not managed.