3 Key Leadership Skills for Effective Remote Work

Leading Choices leadership career newsletter remote skills

1 – Leading Thought

You might say, “leadership is leadership, no matter where it takes place.” And, to some extent, you are right. But there is a set of leadership skills that is magnified in a remote work setting. That is, because remote work comes with its own unique requirements, as we’ve all experienced.

So, what are the skills you must master to excel as a remote leader?

Time Management gives the illusion that we manage a finite resource we have no control over. Time expires every second. What we manage are our priorities and that we do have control over. Click To Tweet

2 – Your Choice: Hone In On Key Remote Leadership Skills

remote work leadership skills

Prioritization.

Time Management is a bit of a mislabeled skill. It isn’t really time we’re managing, it’s our priorities. And with so many opportunities for false urgencies and endless Zoom calls to take over our schedules, leaders need to know how to set priorities for themselves and others to use time wisely.

When you know your priorities, you can align your schedule around it. Time blocking and chunking are two effective and frequently used methods to manage your calendar around those priorities.

It is important that you don’t just list your priorities in your daily planner or create a note with your “list.” This is missing the vital part of allocating time for your priorities. Make sure you schedule your priorities on your calendar and treat them like appointments. When the reminder comes up, you have to go to attend your meeting with your priority.

Self-direction.

Being in an office already puts us into a different frame of mind. Working from home requires planning ahead – directing yourself – and ensuring that we find ways to dedicate physical space and time to focus on work.

When there’s no opportunity to create separate office space, professionals often create other ways to draw a line between casual home-life and work.

Here are three examples for you:

  1. You can create “kickoff routines” by taking a walk in the morning or driving to your local coffee shop to resemble a “commute” before you begin your work.
  2. You could buy a room divider to separate your desk from living space.
  3. What’s also working well for some people is dressing up for business to be in the right “frame of mind”.

What’s working for you?

Communication.

This is the No.1 externally-focused skill leaders need to master. In a remote setting, this is often confused with frequent video meetings, instant chats and emails. The careless use of communication channels and information overwhelms an organization and achieves the opposite.

So, to ensure productive work on your team, carefully plan when and how to communicate different types of information. Communication is a big topic with many more facets, but one thing worth mentioning is the communication of expectations.

It’s worth spending time on creating clarity for yourself and others. This may require communicating expectations more than once and in more ways than verbally. This can include a goal-chart or a written summary.

What’s important is that you ensure all involved parties understand what is expected. This includes the expectations for results, but also the expectations around how you plan to interact, what times are non-meeting hours and how fast responses are expected.

3 – Way to Grow Your Remote Leadership Skills

Since the year is still young, I challenge you to adopt a new time management / priority habit: Every night, plan one major thing you need to get done. Not three, not five, not two. Just one. Then do that one thing before you even check your emails. Block time in your schedule for that one thing every morning. Get up earlier if you need to. Thank me later.

Why not three things? Because it’s a habit change and chances are, you will throw in the towel when you don’t get three major things accomplished. It’s also likely that you underestimate what it takes to accomplish those things and that you get interrupted before you’re done. It breeds defeat.

Plan for one thing and do that. You’ll feel so accomplished and your emails will be there when you get to them, I promise.

There’s no shortage of productivity courses, tools and advice out there. Here’s what I’ve found most helpful:

Take a look at these other resources related to these remote leadership skills:

  • The Busy Detox for Leaders (article) – 2 minute read.
  • Be Focused – A Timer (app) – Mac or PC
  • How To Set Goals When Everything Feels Like A Priority (LinkedIn Course) – 15 minutes
  • Building a Better To-Do List (LinkedIn Course) – 50 minutes
  • Create An Environment For Self-Direction (LinkedIn Course Video) – 2 minutes

Completely unrelated, but so useful:

I wish I had seen this page during the last hundred revisions of endless Terms of Service from the beloved apps we all use. Tosdr.org (Terms of Service; Didn’t Read) summarizes the change in terms and the things that matter to us. You’re welcome.

Here’s making leading choices!

LC#019

Leading Choices covers three parts in each edition: 
 
1    A key insight
2    A Choice
3    An Action or Resources

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