Handling a remote team can be challenging, especially if you have workers who come from various time zones, languages and cultures. Not only tasks must be done on time, they have to be done correctly as well. However, if you keep pressing your workers for updates, you may end up doing micromanagement.

Micromanagement can be stressful for everyone because it may create a poor working environment for everyone and cause your workers to resent working with your strict work ethic. They may try to avoid talking or confiding in you because they don’t want you to be “breathing down” their necks and hear you nag all the time.

To prevent this from happening, here are some tips you can apply to prevent micromanaging while handling your remote team:

Always have your door ready for communication

One reason why micromanaging happens is because of the communication gap between you and your team. There are many reasons why such a gap exists and it is likely because they can’t reach out to you.

Let your team know that you are always available to help them out if they need assistance. If they ask you to check their work, check it and give constructive feedback.

Read More: How to Have a Productive One-on-One with Your Team Members

Don’t obsess on only one method to do things

It is not ideal to stick to one process or method to do things, especially if it doesn’t work for the team. If you stick with one method, it can lead to more complications and cause workers to be frustrated since they can’t do other methods which they find easier to do. It also affects their focus because you keep disturbing them.

Always be clear with your team as to what results you want to get from them and let them propose alternatives if they believe it will make things easier to get the best results.

Acknowledge your weak points

As a team leader, you should recognise that you may have weak points that can affect your team’s work. This can be in the form of written communication, which is the usual way teams communicate remotely, or in your familiarity in key topics.

Don’t get mad if your team asks you questions about your instructions and let them do the tasks the way they think is best.

Consider promoting them or giving them rewards

When trying to lead a remote team, it is important that you give your team incentives or rewards when their productivity is very high. This will inspire your team to do better, especially if they are due for a promotion.

Read More: 10 simple ways to reward your staff

Build a relationship with your workers

If you want your remote team to succeed and stay productive, it is best that you can trust one another despite the distance you may have. Take some time to get to know your team and discuss how you can improve your productivity. Doing this will promote transparency between team members and make the work more engaging for everyone.

Always Have Backup Plans

Remote working depends heavily on internet connection. Unless each of your team members worked with a contingency internet service provider (not unheard of, I do have two different internet providers at home), you may need to have a failsafe plan should that happens.

You can prepare each of them to have a data loaded sim card for mobile tethering. Should their internet fail, they can create a hotspot using their mobile and continue working.

Another common failure is their laptops. Remote employees should be able to bring their laptop quickly to an authorised provider near their homes for a fix while companies can make arrangements for a secondary laptop to be loaned to the employee until the problematic laptop is fixed.

Conclusion

Leading a remote team doesn’t have to be stressful to do, especially if you want your team to stay productive. By shifting your mindset to allow your workers to complete assignments in their own methods, being available to them for inquiries and giving them incentives, it will definitely improve your team’s productivity and strengthen your team even further.

Struggling with remote working? Here are some tips to help you:
7 Ways to Spot the Traits of Effective Remote Employees
5 Great Tips to Build a Strong Culture Among Your Remote Team
Is Remote Work Right for Your Company?

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42 replies on “Avoid Micromanaging When Leading a Remote Team

  1. I love this interesting and informative post, Kally. I always prefer an open-door policy, where people can come to you (almost) any time. I also agree that we explore our own weaknesses and accept that another member of the team might know a bit more than you in a particular are. So let them run with it, then praise them and don’t take the credit for what they’ve done. You’ll always get the best out of your team that way and get the best results.

    Another great post.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I never like sitting in my own room when my team is outside. I usually will bring my laptop out and sit among my team. Sometimes I just sit, squeeze in between two desks. I will only go back into my room if I need to take calls or do some confidential docs like appraisal. If not, you will always see me hanging out with my team.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I loved having my office door open so I never missed any of the action — and there was lots to see on the wards. As Managers, we were expected to go 50/50 between office and the ‘floor’. Cos I’d had years of HR management skills, I was able to complete any paperwork, admin, etc quickly and spent 70%+ on the ward 🙂 which is where I preferred to be.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Over here in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, most of the offices are still working remotely. I know in some cities in China, they are also rotating to work from home. Google and Facebook are reported to have majority of their staff working remotely too.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Excellent, Kally. Your post could almost (no, actually, should) be used as a precursor to discussions with the team(s) regarding changing up the team rules or guidelines on how to function more effectively regarding remote work for now and into the future. It might just help some managers and team leaders who have struggled in this area lead a constructive discussion on where to next. I look forward to the next chapter 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you very much Sean. Remote work is very new across many industries however, it should be looked into as a new way of working. Remote working will also pave the way for freelancers like myself where we can commit to do the tasks but not physically be there in the office.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is so very true re a new way of working and as an added benefit for the freelancer as well. It will be interesting to see how far others will follow Google and Amazon’s example of now allowing employees to work from home forever, if they so wish.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Excellent post. So often, it’s not how you get from A to Z, it’s just getting there. As long as you don’t burn bridges on the way and you conduct yourself ethically, you should be given breadth to get there on your own terms.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Awesome and very much needed advice Kally…. Well done; THANKS!

      Micromanagement is in a would (well actually) Counterproductive and STUPID!

      Such indicates a insecure, egomaniac .
      If this describes you; then either hire new associates (who are not merely your employees); or you find other employment… It is prudent for you to know what’s going on….prudence dictates that it be done WEEKLY; not daily. (Amen; enough of my preaching here)

      God Be with you

      Patrick

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you very much, Kally! These are really great tipps. By the way we should forward to our national ministry of education too. Lol They are on their first steps bringing computers into the classrooms, and most of the teachers are very new to work with remote teaching. Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Kally, thoughtful and well-presented, as usual.

    When conducting business remotely, it’s so easy to try to control everything, because “I’m not there to see to things personally.”

    However, this is a poor choice, because it tells your colleagues/subordinates you don’t trust them. It’s good to remember, we work with adults. In most cases, they all have been to university. Treating them as children is impossible anyway – exhausting for you and frustrating for them.

    Barring anything illegal or unethical, whatever method one uses to reach the goal should be acceptable. We’re supposed to get to 8. I say, 4+4. You try 24 divided by 3.

    Either way. Choose the path best for you. In the end, you’ll be more confident of the results.

    Liked by 2 people

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