We’ve been in ‘lockdown’ for a few weeks now in varying degrees depending where you live in the world. You’ve no doubt seen the proliferation of articles on how to manage remote teams effectively and variants thereof. It seems that suddenly everyone is an expert on how to manage remote teams.
The irony is COVID-19 has surfaced some questions bubbling under the surface for years but now magnified because of physical distance. The topic of how to get the best out of a team has always been there along with the question of what constitutes a team. Many of the good practices suggested in the tens of articles I’ve personally read all boil down to three fundamentals. These three fundamentals apply whether your team is remote, co-located or geographically dispersed.
If a team doesn’t have these three fundamentals, then they’re a group. A group is a collection of independent individuals working for the same manager. This determines which approaches to take and helps make sense of why some approaches don’t work or feel out of place.
If the people you manage are a group than how they work together will be different from a team. Daily stand-ups for example are not needed with the whole group if they’re not working on interdependent activities. A more useful approach here might be Friday catch ups. Whereas a team working towards a shared output will benefit from daily stand-ups to see how they’re collectively tracking.
Similarly, collective accountability impacts progress reporting and expectation management for the shared output. A group of individuals working for the same manager on different outputs will be working to different timescales and milestones.
The table below collates some of the practices and tools garnered from articles, conversations with teams and individuals over the last few weeks.
They’re intended as a starting point to help you think about how you manage your teams not just now in the midst of the pandemic, but hopefully, on the other side too.
One final thought to help you navigate the sometimes-overwhelming task of helping your team do their best in these uncertain times is to consider how you might create opportunity for more interdependent an collective accountability. And as the current situation unfolds consider how you might co-create a new shared purpose that will sustain the tam for different world.
Change Strategist and Coach
With almost 30 years experience in Organisational Change, Continuous Improvement, and Coaching, Ro has dedicated her career to helping organisations become agile and change ready. To read more about Ro and the Change Management Workshops in Perth she delivers, please click on this link.