High-performing teams aren't formed by chance. A high-performing team is created when the right people combine with smart processes and a vibrant, empowering culture.
And thanks to technology, you can build a high-performing team that extends beyond your office walls. Successfully leading teams that include remote employees can present a leadership/management challenge, however.
Here are a few ideas for managing high-performing teams remotely.
1. Hire right the first time.
Good people are at the core of every high-performing team. But finding the individuals who have the skills and a personality for your culture takes time and intention.
When you're hiring for a remote role, make sure your new hire can excel without a lot of oversight and has good written and verbal communication skills. At my agency, 100 percent of our team is remote, and we've been able to operate like this for over six years because we put a big focus on hiring right the first time.
We have a three-step interview process that we use to vet our new hires.
The first step is a traditional interview, which I hold via video chat. Next up is a series of emails where the individual shows me their written communications skill level. Then, during the final step (which not all candidates advance to), I have them actually take on a project so I can see how they handle real-life situations working with our team.
2. Give them the full picture.
Having an onboarding process helps get everyone on the team on the same page and working toward the same end goal, which is important for a high-performing team.
Whenever I'm pulling together a new team, or giving my team a new project to work on, I always start by creating a vision document. The vision document contains the project history, scope, story and purpose.
If it's a new client or new brand, I'll also include the mission and vision details along with their role in the effort so everyone has a point of reference to their link on the team and any projects that we're working on.
As new players join our team, the first thing I do is send them to the vision document for context.
3. Create processes that support the work.
In addition to the vision document, we also have a series of tools that we use to keep our teams connected.
There are a variety of systems that are designed around collaboration. A common mistake is to think that more systems and/or tools equate to more productivity. That's not always the case. Sometimes more systems and tools can mean more busy work, which can slow down performance. So before you begin investing in technology, make sure you understand the purpose it will serve or the pain point it will alleviate.
We've been operating remotely at my consulting agency Kayson since we started in 2012, and we've found that our teams work best with just a few core systems: email, cloud storage, chat and a project management tool.
When you're thinking about technology, consider asking for input from your team. After all, they're the ones who have to use it.
4. Give them a purpose.
High-performing teams tend to do well because they love their work.
In my experience, I've always found that I see the most output from a high-performing team when they're working on projects they believe in and have a personal stake in. And the better I've become at aligning my people with their passion projects, the more effective they are.
At my agency, we do this in two ways:
Understand their personal needs.
We make sure we understand what drives each of our team members personally. Then we ensure from the get-go that there's an alignment both internally and for any external projects that we'll be taking on.
Stay true to our mission.
Everyone who joins our team knows what they're signing up for because we're incredibly honest about who we are, our mission and the type of work we'll be doing. Being upfront and honest helps people self-select into the organization, and that helps me ensure that everyone on the team wants to be there.
Managing remote employees can have its share of challenges, but that shouldn't stop you from seeking out the best talent out there. By being intentional about who you hire, implementing flexible processes and giving your team a purpose to work for, you can lead a high-performing team from anywhere in the world.
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