The Right Stuff — Managing Remote Teams


What’s all the fuss about managing remote teams? After all, we’re not talking about rocket science. The management principles remain the same, whether your employees are on-site or remote.

This applies to you if you are a first-line supervisor or a high-level manager. So, for your own success, you need to pay attention to the following tips and include them as part of your management style.

Hire The Right Employees

Let’s start at the very beginning. If you’re managing remote teams, you must hire employees with the right stuff. Whether an astronaut who will fly to the moon or a financial analyst, who will crunch your numbers, they will need more than technical skills to succeed.

If you don’t hire the right people, there will be no way to manage them effectively later. If you have ever attempted to manage a strictly technical individual, then you know how difficult that can be. Work with HR to identify qualified applicants.

What Makes a Qualified Applicant

Working remotely requires soft skills and an ethical approach to work. If you are managing remote teams, you must hire individuals with integrity, self-confidence, and the ability to communicate effectively. You should not have to hold their hand, look over their shoulder, or suffer through needless miscommunications.

And you won’t.

The right employees will naturally exercise self-discipline, despite the distractions of the home-based office. Setting up an office conducive to productive work is their responsibility, and they will make it happen. They will be productive because that is who they are. They gain satisfaction from doing things well in their personal and professional lives.

They will seek your feedback and not wait for you to offer it. A job well done is a powerful self-motivator for these people.

Managing Remote Teams: Employee Evaluations

How easy it is to evaluate remote teams when they are properly selected for the job! You need never dread their Performance Review.

A critical part of managing remote teams is communication. When your team is communicating with you regularly, there are no surprises. They know what you require. Just tell them what you want and provide the tools to accomplish it. Check-in from time to time but basically sit back and let them go at it. No micromanaging is needed here.

Make Sure You Have the Right Stuff Too

It’s essential that you learn to ask the right questions to establish the presence of these skills. By doing so, you will be building a powerful team of doers. Your department, division, company, or the corporation will reap the benefits from having these stars behind the scenes. You may even have time to spend with more needy employees.

If you lack the knowledge of basic supervisory skills, then go get some. Take a course, read a book, view a tape, and get yourself a mentor. Do whatever it takes and do it now. Your success depends on it.

Don’t be shocked that even some high-level managers can pathetically lack these skills. We can all benefit from a refresher from time to time.

If your people are not your priority, you will act accordingly, and the results will be a work environment that is a nightmare for all. If you don’t wake up, you are guaranteed to lose the best and be left with the needy.

Managing remote teams is simple once you have the right skills and ensure your team does as well.


This contribution to Virtuali is by Lucy Klaus, a former Human Resources Manager with over 25 years of experience. Lucy asked us to post this to Virtuali on her behalf.

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