There are 5 very important leadership skills for a remote job setting that will help you progress steadily in your remote job career. Many people set out into the remote job space with lots of hope and expectations only to find themselves in the job market again; submitting their Curriculum Vitae all over again. However, if you apply these important leadership skills in your remote job, you will stand out and be sought after.
Before we get into the topic proper, we need to address the reasons these skills are key in a remote work setup. First, when working remotely, there are times when keeping a close eye on your team or tasks may be challenging simply because the job is “remote”. You cannot just walk into an office and pick up that crucial file that you need or pass across that time-bound instruction.
Therefore, being able to lead competently in a remote setting, will save you a lot of stress, enhance your productivity and significantly improve your overall performance. Another point is that there are misconceptions when it comes to the definition of “leadership”. Instead of delving into these misconceptions, this topic will simply clearly expound on true leadership as it applied to remote work.
#1 Leadership Skill for A Remote Job: Self-Leadership
This is the first key leadership skill for a remote job or any job for that matter. You cannot lead others when you have not led yourself. Let us look deeper into what self-leadership entails.
A leader should be able to understand his or her own core values, ideologies, ethics, biases, and assumptions. This requires critical thinking and deep introspection; very crucial skills. Self-awareness also includes the ability to learn from one’s own experiences. When one becomes self-aware the next thing is to understand how one’s values and principles differ from those of team members and clients.
Similarly, self-awareness involves doing a self-SWOT analysis and understanding how one’s strengths and weakness impacts the members of one's team. Also, good self-awareness involves acknowledging biases and sentiments and understanding how they affect one’s decisions and attitudes. In addition, it is vital to get, process and implement realistic feedback from superiors, teammates and subordinates.
This largely involves self-control and self-discipline. Good leaders refrain from allowing emotions to impact their judgement and attitude towards others. Instead, they consider how negative emotions could negatively impact team members. Proper self-management also involves discipline with time, living a healthy lifestyle, meeting responsibilities, excellence at work and strong consideration for the work schedule of others.
To effectively lead in a remote job setting, self-leadership skill involving consistent self-improvement is vital. New things are always coming out, therefore there is a need to always update one’s knowledge. Similarly, self-improvement involves regular training and reading relevant books for self-development. It also involves learning from mistakes, feedback and other people.
When you act with uncompromised integrity you display healthy self-worth. It involves keeping to personal and professional values, ethics and principles, especially in the face of pressure to compromise. A leader that has this skill is able to recognize and respect the religious and cultural beliefs of others within the team or the organization. They also appreciate and encourage diversity and equality, and relate to people appropriately with regard to their age, sex and capabilities.
#2 Leadership Skill for A Remote Job: Engaging People
Your ability to master this leadership skill will determine how well you get people to do what you would like them to do. It does not matter whether they are your superiors, contemporaries, team members or subordinates. In remote work, this key leadership skill will help you succeed in maximizing relationships that are relevant for high performance and an upward career thrust.
This cannot be over be emphasized. Most often than not, you need people to achieve any goal or task within your organization and/or move up in your career. Networking mainly involves seeking or creating opportunities to collaborate with people to achieve common goals. You do not need to look too far to network with people. Simply start with your colleagues or your team.
You can initiate a project (for instance a reading project) among your colleagues or within your remote team. This will help you understand individuals better and know how to effectively relate with them in future projects or tasks. Similarly, you can engage people working in your industry outside your company to enable you to have access to information not within your reach. Another good way to network is to freely share information that will help others to achieve their goals in other to build trust for possible future collaboration.
2. Building Social Capital
This is core for building and maintaining personal and professional relationships. This is the ability to genuinely listen to the concerns or perspectives of others, show empathy, and demonstrate needed support. Everyone wants to be understood and feel relevant. This is what this key leadership skill achieves. If you are also able to provide or proffer practical solutions in addition, your social capital will be set on the rock! You would have succeeded in some level of building trust. If this becomes a regular practice for you, people around you will trust you. Consequently, if you need their help, they will easily provide it. This leadership skill is especially effective to build a solid trust foundation within teams.
To succeed as a leader or good team player you need to be open-minded and welcoming. Encourage teammates and other colleagues to contribute their professional knowledge to discussions. Respect and acknowledge what they have to offer and their position in the organization. Likewise, seek to manage and resolve conflict of interests and divergent perspectives within your team as much as it lies within you.
No matter the debates that arise within your team, ensure that the focus is on executing assigned tasks, not on persons or personal matters. Also, never take sides in arguments between subordinates. These are all winning leadership skills or attitudes that you will find rewarding. Your superiors, colleagues and subordinates will come to respect and look up to you as someone that is focused and objective.
4. Team Spirit
A lot of the things already mentioned relate to working within a team. However, in addition, a good leader displays solid team spirit by having a good understanding of his or her role within a team. Similarly, he or she has a clear sense of the role of individual members of the team and the collective goal of the team. A good leader is also willing to involve people that can help the team achieve its goals and respects the decision of the team.
#3 Leadership Skill for A Remote Job: Management Skills
This is another crucial leadership skill for a remote job that will stand you out in the field. In a nutshell, it involves the ability of one to make do with available time, human and material resources to achieve tasks and projects effectively.
This seems easy enough, but it is not as simple as it sounds. This is the ability to contribute strategic wining plans on how to achieve the goals of a task, team or the company that you work for. In a remote work setting, it could involve you contributing actively towards the execution of tasks during conference calls or on a virtual collaborative platform like Slack. Furthermore, it includes the ability to strategize using feedback from clients and colleagues.
2. Resources Management
Companies offering remote jobs or teams executing remote tasks would normally have allocated financial or other types of resources for their work. It is a strong leadership attribute to know how to properly manage the resources allocated to you or your team, including identifying shortfalls of resources in relevant areas.
For instance, if your employer allocates a certain amount of internet data to be used within a period of time, you show responsibility if you ensure that you (and your teammates, if applicable) do not waste data or use it for what it is not meant for. Essentially, a good leader would ensure that his or her employer saves resources, and report poor management or wastage of resources.
3. People Management
If you feel managing resources is tough, managing people is even tougher. People management is a highly complex subject. Therefore, it is not something that can be exhausted in this short piece. However, we will make an attempt to provide a comprehensive summary. A vital aspect of managing people involves having and displaying high emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to patiently, accurately and selflessly show understanding or empathy for people’s feelings and perceptions (including experiences) while being aware and in control of yours. Active listening is a critical aspect of emotional intelligence. Similarly, positive body language, like nodding the head and maintaining eye contact are equally essential.
Sadly though, in a remote setting, non-verbal modes of communication are almost entirely eliminated. Notwithstanding, there are ways to show people that you are listening in online an environment. A good example is if you show that you are following a conversation by making comments in an interactive group or responding verbally during a virtual call. After getting a good grasp of emotional intelligence, you would find it easy to motivate and support teammates to perform tasks assigned to them without prejudice.
You should also be able to review the performance of your team and provide constructive feedback. Remember that you do not need to be the team leader to show leadership skills. Maximize any opportunity around you to display leadership skills, it would be only a matter of time before you find yourself in leadership. Your colleagues would be drawn to you and your employer will see your results.
4. Performance Management
As a leader, you should be able to hold yourself accountable for your performance, whether good or bad, without giving excuses for underperformance. Beyond taking responsibility, a good leader should seek ways to improve his or her performance and that of the team. If you are leading a team to achieve a remote task, it is also your duty to ensure that everyone in your team takes responsibility for their performance. Do not encourage excuses or give room for people to pass the blame on one another for underperformance. One effective way of improving future performances is to incorporate constructive feedback when planning for your next tasks.
#4 Leadership Skill for A Remote Job: Improvement Skills
Like all the other leadership skills mentioned, this article cannot completely exhaust the subject of improvement. Service quality improvement skill is key to proving yourself as a leader. You need this leadership skill to remain relevant and competitive in the remote work environment. Employers want employees that can constantly improve on service delivery.
1. Prioritizing Clients
Most of the skills that have been pointed out involve working within teams or relationships with colleagues and your employer. All of those skills may mean nothing if you have poor engagement skills with clients (especially if your work exposes you with your company clients). Clients are key determinants of your company’s financial standing.
If you are in customer service or have reasons to deal with customers directly or indirectly, you will be acting as a strong leader by applying the leadership skills mentioned earlier and ensuring top-notch customer satisfaction. Furthermore, the activities of any team or organization in a remote work setting should be directed at ensuring effective customer satisfaction.
2. Evaluating and Improving Services
This involves actively seeking for areas that require improvement in delivering your work using standard improvement methods through collaboration. Feedback from your company, colleagues and clients are very important for identifying areas that need improvement in your remote job. After critical evaluation and identifying these areas, a good leader would work towards improvement in collaboration with others. To develop this leadership skill, you can study various improvement strategies and find a few that fits into your work context.
3. Role Model for Improvement and Change
A good leader should be someone who is always seeking innovative solutions rather than settling for the status quo. He or she should question the accepted norm and also encourage others to constantly seek improved ways of executing tasks. Of course, it does not mean rebelling against company standards or protocols, rather, it involves finding better ways of applying them when carrying out assigned tasks.
This is not a one-time thing, but something that is continuous. Similarly, leadership is demonstrated when you contribute to (as well as encourage others to contribute to) change processes in your organization. Beyond this, you should be known and seen to be a role model for implementing change processes in your organization.
#5 Leadership Skill for A Remote Job: Providing Direction
If you are heading a team or project, one key leadership skill you need is the ability to provide direction for your team. Every remote project or team task requires direction. Therefore, providing leadership in this aspect is a critical factor in achieving the set goals.
1. Professional and General Awareness
To competently lead a team or project in a remote setting, you will need to demonstrate that you are well vast in your professional environment. It is also important for you to have a very good insight into the social, political and economic settings and terrains that your remote work cuts across. All of these will help you chart the appropriate course for any given assignment. It will also help you identify the appropriate context and framework for implementing change in your organization.
2. Research Competence
Besides working with feedback from clients, colleagues and your employer, a true leader will conduct independent research in order to seek avenues to effect change. Basically, you need good research skills to be able to lead effectively. Data gathering (beyond feedback) that can give you the needed information in your remote work is a solid tool that can help you boost your performance and affirm your leadership competence. You can also motivate others, especially your teammates to adopt this mindset for their work.
3. Evaluation Skill
We have said so much about seeking and implementing improvement and facilitating change as a leader. However, the impact of these processes can only be known through a thorough evaluation. Hence, your competence as a leader to actualize change or implement needed improvement within your organization is not complete until you conduct a proper evaluation to access the impact. Evaluation enables you to ascertain if the process that you have facilitated is achieving the outlined objectives. Your findings after critical evaluation will inform further decisions.
In conclusion, these crucial leadership skills for a remote job setting are not so different from those needed in the traditional work environment. However, it is important to bear in mind that in a remote work environment, communication, collaboration and coordination may prove somewhat more challenging. The simple reason being the near absence of non-verbal communication cues, which are essential in for engaging team members. This can make your effort as a leader more strenuous than necessary. Notwithstanding, there are great tools out there that have been designed to limit the impact of this deficiency. Check out this article, 7 Best Practices for Managing a Remote Team, for more insight.