Remote Leadership - Leadership at a distance

Managers whose team members work together digitally from several different locations on a permanent basis face a number of challenges. However, this situation also offers opportunities that can be exploited by actively shaping collaboration.

What does remote leading mean?

Remote managers rarely see their team members in person. Collaboration takes place primarily via digital channels. This has become more and more the norm since the COVID-19 pandemic. For managers who were previously used to working together in the office, this can often present particular challenges at the outset. Digital team collaboration requires a lot of trust and leaves no room for micromanagement. At the same time, achieving a good team spirit and perceiving the needs of the employees can be very challenging digitally. 

What challenges does remote leadership present?

Leadership at a distance does not require a new leadership style but rather an expansion of one’s own competencies and an adjustment of the framework conditions. For the manager, there are three fields of action that bring both opportunities and challenges.

1. Personal competencies and attitudes
For successful remote leadership, it is important that managers are clear about their own roles and understanding of leadership. But in addition to these personal issues, the manager must also master concrete skills, such as clear communication and certain technical skills.
2. Relationship & culture
Relationship work and the active shaping of a good team culture is particularly important for remote leadership. Transparent and clear communication, suitable digital formats and trusting collaboration are helpful in developing and maintaining a positive team culture.
3. Technology, structures & processes
Increasing flexibility and purely digital collaboration have the potential to lead to unclear processes in the team. As a manager, it is therefore important to create structures and ensure clarity about work processes, thus reducing uncertainties in the team. Appropriate technical equipment in the form of hardware and software is also essential for collaboration.

What are the opportunities offered by remote leadership?

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Diversity
Digital work can break down silos in the company and enable cross-location collaboration. This brings diversity to projects and topics through different perspectives.
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Attract skilled workers
Digital collaboration enables a free choice of location or working from home. This makes the company more attractive for skilled workers.
Time & cost efficiency
When team members work far from each other, digital collaboration offers great cost and time savings by reducing travel times.

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