As we start to see the move to the new normal and more and more companies move to remote working I believe that empowerment is going to become key to maintaining and ultimately increasing productivity.
I feel that I am a step ahead of the game having been involved in remote projects for the past 15 months, and to be honest, it is different, it is harder to lead in an environment when you have zero face to face time in person.
In this post I want to share some tips on what you can do to make remote working successful.
My number one tip is to focus on empowering your teams.
Why is this important?
It’s important because when our teams are remote, they spend the majority of their time on their own, working under their own initiative, and if they don’t feel empowered then this can lead to them becoming frustrated, demotivated, and disengaged, when they come up against challenges.
We need our teams to become much more self-sufficient, they need to be able to operate in isolation as that is now what they are.
Yep, we have some great communication tools, and we’re all getting better at zoom meetings, and are chat masters, but we cannot have every decision needing to be reviewed, ratified and confirmed by a manager.
One of the strengths of the Agile methodology is the move of decision-making to the appropriate level to allow both faster decision making and more flexibility at the sharp end of the business.
Centralized command and control systems never really worked and in remote working, they are pretty much doomed, we need to have centralized command, setting direction and goals, and distributed control.
We need to let those people at the shape end make decisions and have control of how tasks get done. Weh we do they and they feel empowered, they become more engaged and take more ownership out of outcomes.
So how do we empower people?
I often ask managers if empowerment means more or fewer rules if we want to empower people? Most say it takes fewer.
However, it actually depends, on how many rules we have.
It has to be a balance, too many rules can become restrictive ane stop movement, and too few rules can leave people feeling unsure of what success looks like, and this can have a paralysing effect on progress.
When people tell me it it requires fewer rules i always get my credit card out and say ok, go buy me a car.
They immediately look at me perplexed and say ok, but what type of car, do you have a colour preference, is there a limit on mileage, how much do want to spend.
And I say exactly. You need some more rules, you need a framework for wat success looks like. You need to have a good idea of what success looks like so that you can make decisions that are going to help you make sure the job is done well.
Now depending on the expertise of the person we are assigning the tasks too the level of direction can be wildly different, some will need little guidance others will need much more direction.
Once we have created the framework and set the expectations, the next thing we need to do is to check that our teams have everything they believe they need to be successful.
It’s not whether we believe that they have the right things, but whether they believe it.
Why is this distinction important?
Because it is our teams that need to feel empowered, so they need to believe that they have everything needed to be successful. Once we check that and confirm, it with them, now they will feel they have control over the outcome and this is massively empowering.
I can not stress how important this for remote teams. That doesn’t mean that there will be no leadership or management support, but it will reduce the need for it, and will allow our teams to become self-sufficient.
If you want to know more about how to create empowered teams then reach out by clicking this link and lets set up a time to talk.