Working in person can result in excellent leadership. It may also result from working remotely.
Tom Gimbel, a leadership specialist and the CEO of the Chicago-based employment firm LaSalle Network, who frequently collaborates with other leaders to place people in positions across a wide range of industries, says as much.
Gimbel asserts that, despite some managers’ insistence that their staff members come back to the office, managers can excel in a remote situation as well: Compassionate responsibility is the key to great leadership, and you can practice it whether you’re five thousand miles away or in a cubicle.
Eighty million Americans participate in hybrid work arrangements, according to a McKinsey & Company poll published last month, yet many would prefer to work remotely for the majority of the week if given the chance.
“People really want to have and work for a leader who challenges them, who drives them, but also has compassion,” Gimbel says to CNBC Make It. According to him, leading remotely isn’t actually so different from leading in person, as long as you consider these three strategies:
Keep your colleagues’ boundaries in mind
Gimbel emphasizes the importance of remote leaders being attentive and respectful of limits. It’s a way to show compassion, which is important in a remote area where working conditions might not always be optimal or unforeseen events might occur.
According to Gimbel, compassion might entail understanding when circumstances arise, such as sick family members, mental health issues, or needing to travel at short notice. It may also entail taking into account those who are employed in other time zones and making sure that meetings are scheduled at suitable times for them.
“It may sound basic, but I’ve seen a lot of leaders who don’t respect boundaries,” Gimbel says. “And that should be No. 1.”
Arrange one-on-one meetings
Gimbel asserts that in a remote situation, one-on-one meetings are quite effective.
He suggests scheduling regular meetings for them with others in your virtual office: By constantly updating your staff on your objectives and goals, they can assist you hold your employees accountable without having to physically watch over their shoulders.
According to Gimbel, some executives stopped holding their staff accountable when Covid struck and many offices switched from in-person to remote working because they were terrified of losing them. This includes both individuals who may be underperforming and require additional coaching and strong performers who could appear to require no assistance at all.
“It can’t be ‘out of sight, out of mind,’” Gimbel says. “And, just because someone’s doing their job well doesn’t mean they don’t deserve one-on-one attention.”
Come up with creative ways to show that you care
Building solid professional relationships in a remote environment can be facilitated by showing others that you care about them as individuals, not simply as coworkers or employees, according to Gimbel. People want to work for kind bosses who, at the very least, try to understand and care for their subordinates.
To do this, you don’t have to interact with individuals in person. Gimbel proposes, for instance, inquiring about your remote teammates’ actual locations: How are things in New York or Pittsburgh? How does that compare to Las Vegas or San Francisco? By enquiring about those specifics, you can show other people that you are interested in their identity and way of life.
Another suggestion is to be traditional in your expression of gratitude.
According to Gimbel, remote work “makes about everything electronic,” frequently restricting your interactions with coworkers to Slack messaging, emails, and video calls. Sending handwritten notes in the mail in the form of cards, letters, or gifts of gratitude can be a far more heartfelt method to communicate with those you work with.
“Use snail mail to show people that you care about them,” Gimbel says. “It can go a long way.”