THINKTEAM: “leading remote teams”

Join the OUTNR.org members that are sharing their views, insights and tips on “leading remote teams”


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5 Essential Keys to Leading a Remote Workforce

1. Set expectations.

An all-too-real fear for managers is wondering if staffers working remotely will abuse this privilege. Would the virtual work arrangement turn an otherwise productive team member into a television-addicted slacker who only occasionally checks his inbox to give the appearance that he’s engaged? read more…


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Caspar Jans  Throughout this year I have been facilitating culture & change workshops for DSM’s global IT staff and this topic was and still is by default on the agenda. In IT a major shift from regional teams to global teams took place and you see that “old school” managers tend to struggle with this shift. In our workshop this topic is part of the overall theme “inclusiveness”, which drives the cohesiveness of geographically dispersed teams. The most important points we always tackle are:

1. Create as many communication opportunities as possible (ranging from formal team meetings to digital coffee corner sessions (to talk about anything but work).

2. Trust requires touch: for a team to form the necessary bond it is imperative to physically meet from time to time. You cannot form a trusting relationship only via online channels, humans are simply not wired for that (yet).

3. Beware of the use of “remote site”. In global teams (or regional with a continent) all sites are remote (compared to the other ones). Sometimes you see that the HQ site is seen as the core of a hub-spoke model, but this is actually exclusive towards all other sites.

4. Humor does not always translate properly. In other words, what is funny in the Netherlands might be frowned upon in other countries and vice versa.

5. If possible, balance the burden of bad meeting times. Especially if your team is spanning multiple continents (Asia, Europe and US) it becomes very challenging to find a meeting time that does not infringe on private time in either the US or Asia. Sometimes it pays off for people in Europe to stay up late at night or get up in the early morning to have a meeting with someone in Asia or the US. It really helps forming the bond and trust.

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