As organisations grow and become more complex, managers are increasingly finding that their teams are based not just in different office locations but in a different country or even continent.
The complexity of managing and working across borders, time zones, countries and cultures means that remote teams are at a greater risk of ‘fracturing’ and become more distant than teams based in the same location. To prevent this and to lead remote teams successfully requires leaders to make a paradigm shift in their thinking and approach. Many organisations and their leaders still think and act in a military style ‘command and control’ way to leading their organisations. They draw their organisation chart on the shape of a pyramid with the boss at the top commanding the entire organisation.
However, managing in a command and control style is very difficult when dealing with teams that reside remotely. It’s easy to keep ‘control’ when one can readily observe what one’s team is doing, but how can that possibly work with a team spread over a range of locations with differing time zones?
This requires a paradigan shift in leadership thinking and style. Leaders of remote teams need to turn their organisation charts ‘upside down’ and think about how they can create the conditions that will enable their remote teams to be successful. To use the sport of ‘curling’ as an analogy – here the direction (target) is very clear, the ‘staff’ know what to do but the ‘leader’ sweeps the ice clear to enable the stone to get as close to the target as possible. This paradigm shift requires leaders to think in terms of outcomes and how they will manage the successful delivery of them rather that controlling and progressing discrete tasks. To do this leaders have to give up ‘control’ and give autonomy and accountability to their teams to enable them to succeed.
In today’s global marketplace leaders are increasingly finding that they have to manage teams that reside remotely across borders and differing time zones. To be successful requires a paradigm shift in thinking and approach from top down control to upward co-ordination and creating conditions for success. Our Leading Remote Teams in house training course is designed to help managers do just that.