Previously on Remote Manager Series: Part 1 – Proven ways to engage remote teams
Managing performance is probably the first thought that comes to a manager’s mind when thinking about remote work or work from home policies.
As a remote manager, how can I assure performance from my team when I’m not in the same room?
Many more questions like this one might pop into your mind. It’s natural for them to appear, you’re not seeing with your own eyes work being done or progress. So, doubts appear.
However, tackling this issue is a matter of structure, consistency, and communication. From my experience, It’s less about micromanaging and more about organizing.
Let’s remember that performance is a matter of meeting expectations and plans set. It’s not about hours worked.
The objective here is to create a structure around measuring and working on incremental gains towards those goals. These come in three parts:
Different companies have different ways of managing their directives, objectives, and strategies. There’s the OKR framework, 4DX, Balanced Scorecard, and others. None of which is better than the other, it’s a matter of style. Regardless of which framework you use, you’ll more than likely have Quarterly and Monthly targets.
As a remote manager, the importance of having proper structure magnifies. It’s what will let you know how things are moving at any given time without falling into micromanagement.
This formula will not guarantee results but will ensure that you can understand what’s happening, how things are moving, and help you react appropriately.
The true key for this to help you boost your team’s performance is consistency, which we’ll dig into next.
Setting a structure in place is of no consequence unless there’s follow-thru. Remote managers must be aware that to run high performing teams, they must consistently review goal progress, KPIs, and initiative completion.
Again, it might sound simple, but in the middle of the trenches, managers might be careless about a KPI that went unreported, or a delayed initiative or a half-baked goal.
Be strict with your direct reports; do not be afraid to remind them of the importance of meetings, goals, and KPIs for the overall progress of the area. Tackle problems directly. If there is any inconsistency or low performance, don’t wait for a second reading, ask questions, and find the reason why.
Communication – this might be overstated in the office world, but in a remote setting, it’s a pillar to ensure performance.
In short: overcommunicate, overcommunicate, overcommunicate.
Don’t be afraid to over-explain things and constantly ask if what you’re talking about is clear or if they need further clarification. Ask your direct reports to do the same.
Don’t let significant issues pass; if you identify a rough edge on the team, call it out immediately and talk about it. Those tend to grow underneath the surface and turn into bigger issues if not tended to quickly.
Remember that remote communication skips a lot of body language, which can lead to misunderstandings. Assume that everything said is in the best intentions.
Communication goes beyond verbal communication; it also means using and updating the calendar, project management, and chat systems regularly.
Next-up: Remote Managers Series Part 3 – Planning for success with remote teams.
Save more than 40% on hiring dedicated tech talent. Start by understanding how to build a team with our Guide to Build a Remote Tech Team in Mexico.