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Insight

Remote Team Success Depends on Effective Leadership

Let’s be honest—2020 looks different from the way anyone might have imagined in 2019. From the pandemic and civil unrest to a sharp pivot to remote working, nothing is the same as it was just a matter of months ago.

The working world has changed so much in the last six months. Some organizations, in fact, are still figuring out how to run their businesses among the numerous challenges. We’re at a point where remote working is a regular occurrence, but it’s difficult to keep up team effectiveness when everyone is separated.

Team effectiveness has always been a big part of any company and its success. The pandemic put an emphasis on teamwork as everyone began working remotely. It required more focus on companies’ visions and futures. It’s been about surviving.

Everyone has emotional needs at work, but remote workers have some unique challenges. They struggle with feelings of loneliness and isolation, difficulties communicating and collaborating, and distractions. Without solid leadership, effectiveness can be especially difficult, ranging from lack of productivity to burnout.

What Do Teams Need?
Teams need six things to be successful: a reinforced shared purpose, role clarity, enabling processes, emotional security, an encouraged collaborative spirit, and growth orientation.

While these six needs seem elementary, they each address personal and practical team and individual needs. Leaders must be able to competently and confidently meet each need to ensure team productivity.
The way a leader addresses their team’s personal and practical needs differs by individual team member. When on a virtual team, members can become isolated and rely on leaders much more to meet their needs. If leaders don’t address those needs, the sense of isolation can grow and productivity can slump.

Teamwork Matters
We’ve established that teams have both practical and personal needs, which influence team effectiveness. The first three factors address the practical side of teams—they need to understand their purpose and their roles as well as have processes. The other three factors address their personal needs—they need to feel safe and valued, work well together, and be challenged to learn and grow.

What happens when leaders don’t meet those team needs? Chances are, they won’t succeed. Practical and personal needs balance each other out. Good leaders engage their team members’ heads and hearts.

How can we ensure team effectiveness as we continue working remotely? Check out DDI’s blog for more information about the six team effectiveness factors that contribute to keeping employees engaged and focused.

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I should also add that remote team success depends on effective tools like Asana (https://app.asana.com/) for tracking tasks and time, Bridge (https://bridgeteams.com/product/)for managing employees remotely, and HeadSpace (https://www.headspace.com/) for meditation and clear mind.
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