Maybe your team was already working remotely pre-coronavirus. Or, maybe you’re part of the additional 31% working from home due to COVID-19. Whatever the case may be, growing leaders in a remote work environment can be challenging, especially if it’s a whole new world to you. That’s why I’ve prepared this ultimate guide on how to develop your employees into the future leaders of your company … virtually, of course.
7 Tips for developing leaders on a remote team
Developing leaders is no small task. It takes time, dedication, passion, and plenty of hard work. Throw “remote” into the mix, and it may seem 100 times harder. If you want to develop leaders on your remote team, use these seven tips to your advantage.
1. Start developing from the get-go
From day one, you should be doing whatever it takes to help employees grow into leaders. As soon as you onboard a new member on your remote team, assess and analyze their strengths, weaknesses, and potential. And, of course, monitor and track their growth along the way.
Helping employees develop leadership skills from the get-go will not only make them stronger in the long-run but will also help them succeed in their current and future roles. Not to mention, improving leadership skills right off the bat can help boost employees’ confidence at work.
2. Give leadership opportunities whenever possible
A major part of developing remote employees into leaders is giving them opportunities to grow and build their skill sets.
So how can you do something like this virtually? Glad you asked. There are plenty of ways to give employees leadership opportunities while they’re working remotely. You can let an employee:
- Lead your next online meeting
- Spearhead a big project
- Take on a new responsibility
In addition to the above opportunities, you can also encourage employees to participate in online workshops and work-related webinars to advance their leadership skills and knowledge.
When it comes to giving leadership opportunities to employees, don’t be shy. Your staff is your business’s most important asset, so invest in employees and give them the chance to improve, excel, and shine.
3. Recognize achievements, big and small
According to one source, companies with recognition programs have a 31% lower turnover rate than companies without them. Recognition and appreciation lead to retention. And retention leads to developing the future leaders of your company.
If you want to develop leaders on your remote team, recognize them for their hard work and achievements big and small. But, recognizing employees for a job well done can be a little tricky in a virtual environment. To give your team the recognition they deserve, you can:
- Utilize an employee recognition platform
- Buy them lunch from afar (think food delivery services)
- Host a gift card raffle via video chat
- Give them a shoutout in a virtual meeting
- Send them a care package loaded with goodies
4. Let your team struggle from time to time
Part of becoming a leader is making mistakes and learning from them. If you want your remote team to become leaders, you have to let them make mistakes from time to time.
It may seem a little odd (and difficult) to somewhat sit back, relax, and let your team make mistakes. But, employees can’t become leaders without learning how to bounce back from their blunders.
When coaching remote employees to become leaders, push them to problem solve on their own. This will let employees take on more responsibility and learn how to find a solution without asking you for help. If an employee makes a mistake, be encouraging … not discouraging. Let employees learn what they did wrong so they can improve in the future and not make the same mistake twice.
5. Be the best mentor you can be
To help employees grow into leaders, you have to give them someone to look up to … aka a mentor. And who might that mentor be? That’s right—you.
Being a mentor is a lot like being a coach. You’ll teach your team new things along the way, and they’ll improve and learn from your expertise.
To be a mentor to your remote team (and help employees grow into future mentors themselves), regularly meet one-on-one with each team member virtually to discuss their goals, ideas, and any struggles they’re facing. Give your team someone to talk to for valuable insight and encouragement, as well as someone to support employees along their journey to becoming leaders.
Mentoring employees not only benefits remote employees but also your business. Your employees will learn from the best and enhance their skills, while your company will create future leaders to keep the business thriving for many years to come.
6. Challenge your team
It’s no secret that working on a remote team can be a challenge all in itself. Employees may have issues getting their internet connection to work. Heck, they may struggle signing off their computer at a decent time of day.
Sure, your staff is facing the challenges of working remotely on a day-to-day basis. But, are they being challenged with their work?
If you want to build your remote team into leaders, be willing to throw some challenges their way. To challenge remote employees and help them blossom into leaders, push workers outside of their comfort zone, and assign them new tasks. That way, they can push themselves and enhance their skills levels at the same time. Plus, who doesn’t love a good challenge?
7. Stay connected throughout the workday
Ah, communication and connection. Two small, but very important words. And, two things that are very necessary to grow leaders in your company.
To develop leaders on a remote team, keep your employees connected and working together as a team. This means also demonstrating to them how important communication is in the workplace.
To keep employees connected and communicating, consider doing the following:
- Hosting mini virtual meetings each morning to kickstart the day
- Utilizing an employee communication app to discuss projects and tasks and recognize achievements (e.g., Connecteam) by reinventing communication and engagement in your organization
- Having remote team building activities
In short, if you’re looking to create future leaders, continuous and open communication in the virtual workplace is a must.
Managing Staff Remotely: The Complete Guide (eBook)
In this free eBook, we highlight everything you need to effectively manage your remote employees. From communication tips to engagement ideas and more, this guide is filled with all the information needed to make remote work a success.