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Being a Good Leader in the “Working From Home (WFH)” Era

December 6, 2022
By: Patrick Bosworth in the Leadership Development category.

When you work from home, leadership is an inherently more challenging task than when working in the office. As a leader, you have to set the tone and create an environment where your team can thrive. It might seem strange at first to lead a team that is not physically in your office, but there are ways to do it effectively.

Effective leaders are able to accurately assess the situation, set goals, and create action plans for their team members to succeed. The right culture and climate must be set at the start of someone’s employment because that person can either flourish or flounder under your watchful eye. However, managing remote workers is different from managing a close-knit in-house team. In-house teams can get together in person and bounce ideas around with each other, while you might not interact with your remote employees on a daily basis.


focus on effective communicationEffective communication is crucial

Being a successful remote leader is not easy. It requires a lot of self-discipline and emotional intelligence to deal with the challenges that come with working from home. Effective communication is crucial for leaders in a work from home environment.

One way to instate helpful communication is by creating a schedule in which you exchange messages during certain times of day or week. You can also set up weekly one-on-one meetings with each member of your team. This will help ensure that you are communicating effectively with everyone at all times, without over committing yourself by scheduling too many meetings at once.


Give your team autonomy and trust them to get the job done

Give your remote team autonomy and trust them to get the job done. You may be used to having control over every aspect of your company, but with remote workers, you have to give them more freedom. Give them autonomy over their work hours and what they need from you as their manager. This will help build trust between you and them so that they feel more invested in their jobs and proud about what they accomplish for your company.

Set clear expectations for communication and accountability. Just because someone works remotely doesn’t mean they don’t need regular check-ins with their manager or teammates.


You’ll need to inspire your team from afar

As a remote leader, you will need to inspire your remote team from afar. You’ll also need to set clear expectations, provide constructive feedback, and help employees develop professionally. Be clear about what you expect your team to deliver each month or quarter — but also give them room to pursue their own interests if those align with the overall goals of the company.

Common reasons for productivity loss in a work from home environment include:

  • Lack of motivation due to isolation
  • Lack of productivity due to distractions
  • Inability to focus on work for extended periods of time

When in a leadership role, it’s important to understand how this shift in workplace culture affects your employees — and what you can do about it.


Try to foster collaboration and connection among team members

It is important that you try to foster collaboration and connection among team members by setting up regular meetings via video call or phone call. Give everyone their own space, but don’t let them get too comfortable being alone all the time. Set up regular meetings, so people know they’ll have opportunities to collaborate face-to-face, even if they work remotely most of the time. This will help you understand what each member is working on, and whether they need additional support.

You may also want to consider rotating different employees into leadership roles, so that everyone has an opportunity to learn how to manage and motivate others.


Download our Leadership Guide to Emotional Intelligence