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Successful Leadership and Communication Between Sites

Successful Leadership and Communication Between Sites

Being a leader who oversees functions across many offices can be challenging at times. It’s a tough transition, especially if you’re a manager that doesn’t trust what you can’t directly see, or you haven’t been successfully trained on how to monitor and guide those not directly in front of you. For effective leadership with employees in several locations, consider implementing these best practices:

 

1.) Understandable Expectations

Have clear expectations and communicate how the employee is meeting those expectations regularly. Engage often  with your remote employees. Being in a different location does not mean they are absent. Even if you hire strong, independent team members, you still need to check in with these employees regularly, provide support and guidance as needed, and make sure everyone is on track and focused on the same goals. 

 

2.) Communicate Often 

Employees who have a leader in a different location don’t have the luxury of face-to-face communication. When approximately 56 percent of our communication is through body language, you only have words and tone of voice to convey your message. This makes it more difficult to build a strong working relationship with your employee. Therefore, using more than one medium for communication is necessary (video chat/phone calls/emails/instant messenger). Check- ins should also include unscheduled communication. In a typical office setting, you would run into one of your employees in the hall in the office. In the same fashion, you should have regular fly-by checks with your employees who aren’t in the same office as you. Make a random call from time to time to see how things are going, or instead of sending that update email, give them a call. This constant interaction and engagement will help remote workers feel included. It’s important to understand that if you only call during regularly scheduled times, a one-off call would most likely cause alarm in these employees.


3.) Find the Employee a Mentor at their Location 

Consider assigning remote staff with a local point of contact where communication and connection are valued. This will give them a “go to person” they can visually see and walk to when they need something immediately.


4.) Trust Your Team. 

Measure their performance by setting SMART goals, including regularly scheduled updates on progress using conference calls and video conference.  In other words, measure their performance by the quality and timeliness of the deliverables. Concentrate on what is being accomplished. If they are meeting their goals, then all is good. If not, then it may be time for concern. It is all about accomplishments, not activity.

 

Kelli Krueger is Vice President of Organizational Development at CBE Companies

 

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