Despite the pandemic, remote work is “in”, and leaders must be effective when working remotely. Many leaders and managers assumed that they could bring their usual leadership methods online without a hitch when the pandemic-induced work-at-home movement began. However, it didn’t necessarily work out that way.
In a remote working environment, visionary leadership principles are still applicable. Ultimately, what constitutes visionary leadership differs from manager to manager.
However, there are several ways that leaders can go about improving their remote leadership skills, especially for digital marketing agencies, including the below:
- Reduce Time on Zoom or Google Meets Meetings (where possible).
Keeping in touch with employees and team members is easy with video applications, such as Zoom or Google Meets.
Because of this, there are many managers that think they will be able to recreate water cooler conversations and bonding with their employees just as they had before companies in the marketing industry started making remote work the norm.
While internal meetings are crucial for organization, especially in a hybrid work environment, there can be some negative effects from this. One negative aspect of video meetings internally is that there are often times when unnecessary meetings are held – rather than discussing certain conversations via email or other live chat platforms (i.e., Slack). As a result, your uninterrupted work time can be sabotaged by endless online meetings. Employees whose focus is constantly diverted by online meetings do not typically perform well or are even able to accomplish all of their tasks and deadlines at times.
Additionally, the way we communicate online is different from the way we communicate in person. Organizations that try to implement the same communication style for both in-person communication and remote communication are more likely to:
- Fail with making optimal decisions in a reasonable time
- End up wasting more time and being less productive
- Disrupt their workflow and task organization/priorities
- Prolong the workday overall
Online meetings are appropriate for important meetings and staff training and, of course, they are important for client meetings, as well. For these meetings to work well, they need to focus on precision, intentionality, and effort. Having an agenda prepared ahead of time for each meeting will likely help the meeting run much more efficiently and productively.
- Communicate Frequently and Relevantly.
There are times when some leaders fail to check in regularly on their remote workers, while other leaders tend to overdo it with their online communication.
It is possible for employees to feel disconnected from their organizations when working from home. Employers will benefit from receiving updates from their CEO or supervisors on a weekly or daily basis. Keeping remote employees informed is as simple as communicating with them by keeping communication transparent, consistent, and frequent (without unnecessary calls, emails, or meetings).
Communication in two directions is a hallmark of visionary leadership. It is always more effective to communicate through dialogue as opposed to monologue. In addition, meaningful communication serves as a bridge for all participants.
- Drive Engagement Among Team Members.
Productivity is a function of employee engagement. Working remotely presents many challenges when it comes to employee engagement, however.
Below are a few tips on how to motivate, engage, and empower your team members from our Fort Lauderdale digital marketing experts:
- Always Think About Ownership
Psychologically, employees may take accountability for their work, but managers most likely take on responsibility for the results as the head of the team. This means that your Director of Marketing, for example, must be held responsible for the direction of the work assigned to relevant team members, ensure work is being completed correctly and on-time, and provide any insight or feedback accordingly to deliver the desired results expected from a particular client.
While the above still generally remains typical in most marketing agencies, employees working in a remote setting should take greater ownership of their roles since there is less opportunity to review each and every campaign element (where you could handle these conversations much easier in an office setting). To assist with training team members on taking more ownership of their tasks and projects, senior management should provide guidelines and milestones so that employees can take action with little to no confusion.
- Be Sure to Define Accountability
Responsibility changes when ownership is changed. Accountability should be determined by mutual agreements in remote work environments. In remote work settings, top-down initiatives, which might be successful in a face-to-face setting, often fall flat.
- Embrace New Approaches & Trends
Digital marketing supervisors and team leaders value attitudes that are open to experimentation and are open to positive change. They also realize the importance of remote communication as it may not be entirely about them at all times. For example, it makes sense to allow other team members to take responsibility for running meetings for their respective clients when applicable – rather than bringing in a supervisor or manager for each and every call.
- Consider the Redefined Meaning of Inclusion
The familiar faces from the workplace tend to make us feel more comfortable. However, managers in a digital marketing agency cannot afford to favor only a few people if they want a productive remote workplace. Team members must communicate with one another regardless of their geographical location, department they work within, their career level, and so forth.
- Remember to Encourage a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Remote work may seem to offer a better balance between work and life, but this is not always the case. In this regard, working at home can represent a few significant challenges.
For example, team members may think that they can adjust their work schedules because they can work later in the day or earlier in the day to make up their full workday hours. However, this may not be feasible in the digital marketing industry because most clients expect their marketing team to be available during business hours in many instances.
The challenge of allowing employees to adjust their schedules and workloads can be addressed by management accordingly based on the organization and workflow processes for the respective company at hand.
- Consistently Strategize Priorities & Maintain Focus
Strategic priorities summarize an organization’s goals, providing a degree of definition to its values.
It is a mistake to let a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, divert our attention from these objectives. A company’s strategic priorities serve the same purposes in creating goals, clarity, and focus that can help employees concentrate on the objectives at hand.
Leaders who are effective at remote management communicate effectively, value continuous learning, and have the opportunity to network with others. Solid remote leadership is likely to become the most valuable form of leadership as remote and hybrid work become the new norm – pandemic or no pandemic, it appears.
Working in a remote environment has many advantages, along with a few disadvantages. In most cases, however, digital marketing agencies are able to overcome any challenges or obstacles with advanced technology, proper organization, and more efficient and effective processes and operations.