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  • Writer's pictureFaye Almeshaan

Remote Management: Why It's Time to Stop Winging It

While remote work comes with perks like flexibility, global talent access, and yes, the freedom to wear sweatpants every day, it's not without its challenges. It can feel isolating, and it's tougher to spark those spontaneous creative moments that often occur in a bustling office. But the real downfall? Many managers are winging it, with no training or structure to manage their teams.


We're in an era where remote work is not just a temporary arrangement but a permanent shift for many organizations, with over 12% of the US population working remote and 28% in hybrid environments. This demands a critical look at how we manage remotely. The basics of management—communication, delegation, feedback, and systematization—are often underutilized, leading to disengaged teams and subpar performance. It's high time to sharpen these skills to thrive in a remote environment.


Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful management, period. In an office environment, sometimes managers can get away with being poor communicators because there is more opportunity to accidentally obtain information and physically hunt someone down for information. In a remote environment, that’s less likely to happen. 


So let’s cover the basics here. Managers need to give their team the information they need to do their jobs well and to focus. That means offering the right amount of information in a timely fashion. Here’s an easy framework to follow:

  1. Understand each team member's roles and responsibilities. 

  2. Define your communication channels and when to use them (eg. Emails for heavy information, Teams/Slack for quick questions, etc.)

  3. Be explicit on how your team can reach you when needed. (eg. If it’s urgent and you cannot move forward in your project, give me a call and leave a voicemail)

  4. Establish expectations around responsiveness and availability. You can be a cool manager and have no expectations or you can be the manager who works effectively and makes it easy for your team to perform.


Delegation

Delegation is an art that requires trust and knowledge of your team's capabilities. Many managers delegate on a whim when they see someone or think of a task, but that shouldn't be the case. To get the best results and help your team develop, take the time to consider each person's skill sets and availability. 


But let's pause there; I often hear managers claim it's impossible to gauge someone's availability when they're remote, but that's not the case. First, simply ask if they have the bandwidth. If they're unsure, or if you want to challenge them, ask for a weekly breakdown of how they spend their time, including the number of hours associated. If you see something that looks out of place, tell them how they should be spending their time based on competing priorities.


Once you know who you want to delegate to, provide them with all the context they need for the task and then set expectations. Do you want daily status updates? Do you want them to log their work somewhere so you can track their progress? Do you want them to make decisions or come to you? Let them know in advance.


Lastly, and most importantly, get feedback on what’s working and what isn’t to improve how you delegate.


Feedback & Development

Feedback is traditionally difficult, and it can be even more difficult in a remote setting if you don't have a system. It’s so much easier to go up to someone after they give a presentation, high-five them, and then give them some constructive feedback, but to schedule a call to do that seems so formal and can be more awkward.


Feedback has been shown to be more beneficial when it’s specific, timely, and frequent. To make that possible in a remote setting, feedback must be part of the culture. There should be a feedback agenda item on every single call. You should give both positive and negative feedback as often as possible, and you should ask for feedback about yourself and action on it.


If you struggle with feedback, even when implementing it into your meetings, I highly recommend Radical Candor by Kim Scott. It teaches great principles around being a caring boss that also challenges your team directly.


Failure should be embraced and everyone should be excited to get feedback because that means they’re going to get better, and ultimately, everyone loves improving and getting better at what they do.


Systems & Processes

This is the glue that holds everything together and serves as the infrastructure that supports all other management activities. Without systems and processes, nothing is repeatable, and makes management feel like a heavy administrative lift.


Invest in setting up and maintaining systems that help track progress, manage projects, and streamline workflows. Tools like Asana, Trello, or JIRA can help manage tasks and projects effectively. Systems like Lattice or Betterworks are incredible at tying larger goals to everyday tasks for alignment. Slack and Teams are great for constant communication.


More important than the tool are the expectations and guidelines on how you use them as a team so that you're all on the same page, you avoid any misunderstandings and operate as a well-oiled machine.



Remote management isn't a new frontier; it's traditional management adapted to a digital landscape. By embracing these foundational principles, managers can lead remote teams to heightened productivity, increased engagement, and substantial growth, aligning with the organization’s broader goals. Let's move beyond makeshift methods to masterful management. Remote work isn't just here to stay; it's an opportunity to excel.

For managers looking to enhance their skills or organizations aiming to improve their remote work policies, visit my blog for more insights and tips on effective remote management.


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About Faye


Over the last 12 years, Faye’s worked with, scaled, and invested in 250+ companies that have raised from leading investors, such as Andreessen Horowitz, QED, Lerer Hippeau, Bessemer, Serena, and so many more.


As a seasoned operator, founder, investor, and now performance management consultant, she brings a holistic approach to scaling companies. With an emphasis on collaboration, open communication, and transparency, she’s been able to turn around and supercharge the growth of companies globally.


If you’re looking to improve your remote team's performance, book a call here.

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