We have reached a new age in the workplace. Back in the 1980s, business books and seminars encouraged managers to meander around the office, chat with colleagues and try to gather valuable information around the water cooler. Now managers are working remotely, and it’s a completely different world.
It’s not always evident who the great leaders are in a remote setting, and you may have wondered at some point if you are even good at it. Truthfully, we don’t have enough data yet to accurately evaluate what differentiates a great remote leader from the rest. But from my insights and experience running a fully remote company for 25 years, I’ve put together five questions that help determine if a remote leader is above average or not.
⦁ Are you great at setting goals?
⦁ Are you great at hiring?
⦁ Are you great at delegating?
⦁ Does your compensation system reward high performance?
⦁ Do you always do what you say you will do?
If you can answer yes to all five of these questions, it’s likely that you are a great remote leader. These are essential leadership qualities for any setting, but they become amplified with remote work. If you set unclear goals in an office, you can easily clarify when your team has questions. This becomes more difficult when working remotely.
If you aren’t great at hiring, you will notice these mistakes quickly in an office environment – but it’s difficult to tell if you hired the wrong person in a remote setting. Additionally, you have to be great at delegating tasks and following up to make sure the work is being completed in a remote setting, because you can’t physically see the process.
In a traditional office setting, peer pressure plays an impactful role in influencing your employees’ behavior. When you remove the peer pressure, compensation becomes the biggest driving force, so you need to make sure your compensation system is rewarding the right behaviors.
If you’re wondering about the final question’s role in an office, it’s actually quite simple. You need to build and maintain trust in your workplace, and this becomes more difficult in a remote setting. That’s why it’s important that you always follow through on your words.
The remote workplace is here to stay, and it may take some adjustment to become the same caliber leader that you were in a traditional office setting. If you ask yourself those five questions every day and make the necessary adjustments in the categories you fall short in, before you know it, you’ll become a great remote leader.
Dr. Geoff Smart is the chairman and founder of ghSMART, a leadership consulting firm that exists to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world. Dr. Smart and his firm have published multiple New York Times best-sellers. He stays active in his community and has advised many government officials.