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No More Strawberry Fields: Great Remote Leaders Make It Real For People Who Work-From-Home

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

people are working at home, their vision of the business may get more and more remote from reality. “Nothing is real” as The Beatles 60s fantasy song “Strawberry Fields Forever” describes.

Their picture grows more and more different Your team members may be wearing rose-colored or blackout glasses when it comes down to seeing what they need to initiate or react to each day. They may lose track of what their customers are going through, what the company’s financial picture looks like, and what other people and other teams need from them unless you fill in those blanks and bring them into those realities.

It gets worse: Their vision and your vision can diverge too much As they sit in their own home environment, seeing the world from their nearby window, their picture often diverges more and more from the shared goals you envision for the team. As a leader, if you aren’t an extroverted communicator and/or you prefer details over the big picture, you may be ignoring the opportunity to paint that big picture clearly and sharpen their focus onto what they can do each day to complete the picture.

3 ways to help them get real

  1. Talk to each team member and the whole team super-regularly

  2. Tell stories and give examples to convey the picture you’re seeing

  3. Ask each person for current actions and future ideas for reaching these goals.

Talk to each team member and the whole team super-regularly This has been my broken record lately, but nothing brings you closer to “remote” team members than setting up a regular pulse of phone or video meetings with each person and also with the whole team. Like once a day, once every few days, and at least once a week for the whole team. More is better, and the repeated contact strengthens your communication in a remote world.

Tell stories and use examples Stories and examples make it way more real. Research on leadership communication and brain science shows that people receive and accept information delivered in ways the audience can picture faster and more thoroughly than using generalizations without images.

Ask the team Make it interactive and seek stories from role models in your group who have demonstrated successful actions. Ask for their ideas and plans. Linger a little longer to call on everybody if you can. They’ll soon be ready to share their input when they know you will be asking.

Engage all team members individually and as a group over and over again. Tell them about the exciting possibilities you are seeing and how they (and you) can be successful to make it real!

Read The Feedback Imperative for more tips and strategies for leading remotely

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