6 Reasons a Supportive Manager Benefits a Remote Team

We’ve all had that one manager we’ll never forget. You know the one-supportive, encouraging, and a great leader. These team leaders are remembered and respected, and are largely responsible for their team’s success in the company. It takes a great leader to create good results, and having a supportive manager as a remote worker is even more crucial.

Remote work can be a challenge, especially for those new to it. The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to work from home, and many of them struggled to come to grips with managing a new schedule and maintaining the discipline to work from the comfort of their own homes. With great power comes great responsibility, and sometimes, it takes a great leader to encourage those qualities.

Whether you’re a manager or a remote employee, the power of a supportive management style can’t be overstated. Let’s take a closer look at six reasons a supportive manager benefits a remote team.

Remote team benefits

1. Remote Work Requires More Robust and Versatile Leadership

Remote work comes with its own challenges for both leaders and team members. Without the extra pressure of a work environment, it can be much easier for team members to slack off as they become more relaxed in their home work spaces. How do managers navigate these and other issues?

To begin with, remote managers are focusing more on being supportive than being the hand of discipline. It’s easy to see why some people might be having a harder time working from home. After all, there’s a global pandemic raging around us, and our families and friends are potentially in very real danger. It’s difficult to focus on work when people are getting sick and possibly dying in the background. Not to mention the very real threat to the team in that the pandemic has taken many businesses under.

Remote leaders have needed to shift to a more supportive leadership style, becoming better listeners, more encouraging, and less demanding. Remote work can actually produce some great results, and many businesses have found greater productivity in remote teams. The teams that display greater productivity usually have a hands-off, supportive leader working in the background to keep them on track.

2. Holding People Accountable Makes Them Better Workers

There’s a misconception that supporting someone means always understanding their mistakes and only offering positive reinforcement. While it’s true that recognizing strengths and reinforcing them is a pillar of support, we need to also include accountability. A good leader will hold the team accountable for their actions, their part in the current project(s), and their failures. It’s not about pointing out faults or making fun, but rather about keeping people aware of where they’re delivering and bringing to light where they’re not so they can fix it. Supporting employees means having the courage to say, “Hey, you’re doing great here, but here, you really need to focus on improving.”

When team leaders hold the team accountable, they actually create a more aware and productive workforce. Soon, employees learn to recognize shortcomings and self-correct, which mitigates the need for the manager to step in and say something. A fully self-sufficient workforce is the greatest asset to any company, and, as a manager, you have the power to create that.

3. Support Requires Communication

If there’s one thing remote work can’t do without, it’s good communication between team members and the team and managers. With so many communication tools available today, it’s easier than ever to lay the groundwork, but building that bridge is a different story. Some people are unfamiliar with technology like video meetings, or aren’t great at responding to emails. How does a manager bridge the communication gap when they can’t just walk over to an employee’s desk and talk to them?

The answer is conference calls and weekly check-ins. Most productivity/team management software includes some kind of chat function, which can be used to stay up-to-date with employees and their projects. Conference calling services help keep the team together by hosting video meetings, audio calls, and even webinars.

4. Motivating Vs. Dictating

Sometimes, a person in a leadership position becomes a dictator rather than a motivator. The difference is that a dictator leads by force, whereas a motivator leads by example and charisma. People like to be motivated, because they feel inspired to actually do the work of their own volition. When a manager becomes a dictator, it’s usually because he or she is unable to inspire and motivate, or else doesn’t know how to do so.

The classic case of motivate vs. dictate can be decided by one simple factor: the team’s values. Once you tap into what the team holds dear, what they believe in, and what naturally motivates them, you can use that to create motivation in their work. For example, let’s say you have a team that values honesty. Being an honest leader and always telling them the truth can inspire the same from them, along with the respect that accompanies honesty and strong communication.

5. Enhancing Capacity and Confidence Through Feedback

Feedback is a touchy thing, even for the best of leaders. Feedback can be all-powerful for good or for ill, and its power shouldn’t be taken lightly. A manager’s feedback can take an employee to the next level, but managers have to learn to balance the good and the bad. A classic technique is to open with two compliments and close with a comment on what needs improvement. Here’s an example:

“Rebecca, I think you’re really crushing the designs, I really like your style and the artwork is flawless. But I think we can look at improving your time management skills so you can meet deadlines more often.”

This is an example of creating confidence through feedback, while still addressing a problem. Rebecca is a talented graphic artist, and the manager lets her know that right away. This effectively establishes her value as the manager’s first priority, which speaks volumes to her as a person and a member of the team. It also opens that door for a conversation about her time management skills. She’s feeling confident enough after being complimented to discuss something she’s not as comfortable with.

6. Building Team Trust

Trust forms the bedrock of any good relationship, and on trust you can build respect, love, admiration, and so much more. Establishing trust as a manager is crucial to earning the team’s respect, and, therefore, improving their results. Earning trust begins and ends with honesty. Don’t lie, don’t accept being lied to. A good team is cohesive, honest, and communicates often!