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Long-distance leadership tip #8: don’t forget about career planning for remote employees

Back in mid-April, I started a series of video tips on long-distance leadership, giving you one each week.  Last week’s strategy was to remember to praise your staff regularly.  I am planning a new series of tips to start shortly, so this week’s tip will be the final one (at least for now) in this sequence. Today’s idea: don’t forget about career planning for your remote employees.

Career planning is just as important for remote employees as it is for those in the office

When you have staff that work from a distance, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking – “why mess with things if they’re going well?”  But just like the people who are down the hall from you, your off-site employees have goals and aspirations.  And exceptional long-distance leadership means that you have to help them make progress on their goals for growth and advancement.  Even it means that you’ll have to lose them to elsewhere in your organization.

Back in strategy #3, I recommended that you get to know your employees at a personal level, including what their job aspirations are, and what they want to achieve long-term in their careers.  And in strategy #2 I told you to schedule weekly one-on-ones.  Both of these offer prime opportunities to discuss career hopes and ambitions, as well as available career paths in your company.  Employees want to know that you care about them for more than what they can do for you just now; they appreciate knowing that you have an interest in their futures and a desire to help them get there.  So great long-distance leadership must include not only frequent dialogues about career planning, but also updates to the employee on how you’re helping them move forward towards their eventual goals.

A summary of all eight tips

For your information, here is a summary of the full set of tips in this series:

  1. Set “office hours”
  2. Schedule weekly one-on-ones
  3. Build stronger relationships by learning more about them personally
  4. Be thoughtful about the medium you use to communicate
  5. Establish common work hours for at least a fraction of the day
  6. Set standards for responding to email and voice mail
  7. Remember to praise!
  8. And of course today’s strategy is don’t forget about career planning for long-distance employees

Now it’s your turn.  What are your tips for leaders who have remote or virtual employees, located in a different geographical location?  What are you doing to build morale and ensure peak performance?  Please share your success strategies by adding a comment below.

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