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Leading a remote team becomes easier when you deliberately build personal relationships

Today’s video episode marks Strategy #15 in our series on leading a remote team.  Today’s tip is to deliberately get to know your employees at a personal level.

Deliberately get to know your employees at a personal level

Let me first address the occasional pushback I get on this strategy.  Clients will say to me, “Merge I don’t want to be best friends with my employees.”  So I want to be really clear, that is not what I am suggesting.  I am NOT saying that you should start hanging out with your employees on the weekends, or go out shopping or dining with them.  I AM saying that you should make the effort to get to know them at a little more depth than just professionally.  So for example, about their family, their pets, their hobbies, what is important to them; enough so that is more than just work-related.

Now you might wonder why this is important, so let me tell you.  As a leader, you want commitment from your employees, the kind of commitment that steps up to the table when things go wrong, the type of commitment that rolls up their sleeves and says let’s fix the problem.  What you don’t want is compliance.  Compliance is when employees stick around only because they have to.  And when things go wrong, or they get another opportunity, they quickly vanish.  The problem is that commitment and compliance look the same on the outside, you only find out what you really had when things go wrong, and of course by then it’s too late.  But … when you take the time to develop even a small degree of a personal relationship with your staff, you start building commitment.

This becomes even more important when leading a remote team

So why does this matter in the context of leading a remote team?  It’s harder to build this sort of a personal relationship from a distance.  It doesn’t happen organically, you must do it deliberately.  And if it’s a new employee who has always worked remotely, you’re already at a disadvantage.  So set up a virtual coffee meeting with no other objective than to get to know your team member at an individual personal level.  When you show a personal interest in your staff, you build commitment, and your skill in leading a remote team will develop even further.

Looking for previous strategies in this series on leading a remote team?  Here are some of the more recent installments.

Or just access the full series here: Leading Hybrid and Virtual Teams Video Series


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