Remote Leadership

March 27, 2020
Darryl Cooke

Executive Chairman

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There isn’t a better time than now to demonstrate good remote leadership. Leadership is everything, whether you are running a local voluntary service or the largest organisation in the world. At times like this everyone looks for guidance. People want to be guided. They want to follow. But if you get it wrong you are just going for a walk.

Leadership is not about geography. It is not about the finance director in the next office. It is about galvanising the whole company. It is about being authentic and being sensitive to those who are struggling for whatever reason, and it is about lifting spirits and it is about focusing on a common cause that will get you to the end. It is about being innovative. It is about being dynamic. It is about being flexible. It is about making swift decisions. It is about getting things wrong and moving quickly when you do so. It is about caring. And sometimes that shows in encouragement but sometimes it shows in being direct and angry in a managed way. It is about being you. You are the catalyst. You are at the centre. It is about your authenticity.

80% of managers now supervise people from different locations so it is important to implement some good processes when working across geographies. Getting these practices right will in the long term be good for your business.

Leadership is more than location. Some suggestions:

  • Too many leaders worry about what their people do during the day. Don’t. Focus instead on identifying goals and achieving results.
  • Become familiar with all useful technology: Skype; facetime, Teams , Zoom and all useful simple project management software tools such as Trello.
  • Focus on achieving goals and not just setting them. Be more aware of accountability timelines.
  • Call a video meeting in the morning with your teams. These meetings now need to be more efficient and won’t last as long as face to face meetings. Don’t go over the same ground as previous ones. You should give a summary of what has gone before and move on. Perhaps start at this time by focusing on good news. Lots of people will be worrying. Get each of your team to send you a summary of what they have done at the end of the day.
  • Do frequent video one to ones during the day and practice listening. People will have personal stuff going on around their lives. Listen. Don’t always seek to solve problems. Ask questions and get them to solve their own issues. But also get use to asking the question ‘how can I help?’ You will certainly find out the people who step up and those that you want to progress in your business. As Warren Buffet once said – when the tide goes out you find out those who are wearing the swimming costumes.

And finally, this is a time for you to look after yourself. Your own self – discipline is key. Exercising is very important for many reasons but long runs or bike rides also give you time to think. Running can help you to form your thoughts and help you to return with solutions as well as greater motivation

As the visionary in the business  think about and chart the future. Where is the business heading? Do we need new goals? What concerns do I have for the future? Do we need to change our strategy? Where is the world heading? (Very shortly millennials and generation Z will account for 75% of the world population – their requests are different). There is an argument that only moral purpose companies will survive into the future. What does that mean for your business? Are you equipped for change ?

Your purpose must be aligned with your business goals. One must support the other and they must be authentic.