There may be some similarities between managing internal teams and managing distributed teams, but there are also numerous differences that managers need to take into consideration. What you should know is as follows.

Enterprises must adopt a new talent management strategy if they want to be successful. It may no longer be possible to hire, develop, and retain talent merely based on location or payroll status, given the reality that employees may alter their position within either of those categories at any point during their careers. The workforce is becoming more adaptable. And for that, you need a talent management strategy that is similarly adaptable and considers the many configurations found in modern workplaces.

The new normal is that there is no such thing as a new normal anymore. In-demand talent today has more options than ever for how and where to work, so businesses are free to set up their teams and personnel to provide them with the most considerable competitive edge.

Here are six suggestions for improving the management of distributed teams.

  1. Modify your expectations

The first and most crucial action managers should take is to modify their expectations for their interactions with remote employees. It is a surefire formula for failure to wait to collaborate with distributed teams as you do with internal teams. This is so because distributed ecosystems have a wide range of unique characteristics.

For instance, managers shouldn’t assume that everyone works remotely equally or that all team members communicate in the same manner. Online collaboration significantly impacts communication and even how managers should set goals and measure productivity. Therefore, the first step to effectively managing distributed teams is to keep an open mind about the changes that lie ahead.

  1. Strengthen your dedication to sound management principles.

Establishing specific goals for the team as a whole and each team member, speaking effectively, conducting meetings with accuracy, and utilizing each person’s abilities to make up for flaws are all essentials that any competent manager should know. Experienced managers are probably already adept at doing those things, but a distributed strategy requires them to be more adamant about them.

For instance, it’s frequently advised to over-communicate while managing distant personnel. To prevent the creation of knowledge silos, managers must ensure that everyone is always aware of everything. The only method to achieve this? Use several channels to convey the same message, even if some members may find it repetitious. In the same line, keeping an eye on everyone on the team (through group and individual meetings) is essential to foresee problems.

  1. Use fresh measures to estimate output and performance.

Managers should abandon their outdated methods for gauging performance and productivity. It is no longer rational to assume someone is a hard worker just because they put in more hours (if it ever was). People who work online today manage their time differently and, as a result, complete tasks differently.

Therefore, managers should ignore how much time was spent on a project or how it was accomplished. Instead, they should focus on the team’s work and if they adhered to the timelines and processes set forth. In addition, managers should provide their teams the freedom to pursue their objectives however they see fit. That shouldn’t be a problem as long as the management team has established clear expectations.

  1. Modify hiring practices

It’s preferable to create a hiring approach that better accommodates the scattered workplace when it comes time to add new employees. This has several implications. It first implies that hiring managers should prioritize soft qualities like self-discipline and communication. These abilities will aid managers in their work because they will enable team members to more effectively manage their own time, comply with instructions, and communicate at all times.

The alterations required for the onboarding procedure are the next step. It’s never easy to adjust to a new job, and it can be even more difficult in a distant setting. Managers should have a streamlined procedure for hiring new remote employees, including giving them the resources and training they need to get started, setting up video calls for proper team introductions, and providing a schedule of the tasks they expect the employee to complete during the first day, week, and month.

  1. Provide possibilities for bonding

Working remotely causes people to lose contact with their coworkers, which is one of the most common complaints of remote workers. Feelings of isolation and separation may result from this. While team leaders may believe that regular meetings are sufficient to foster camaraderie, people actually want more than just a few minutes of unstructured conversation before and after a scheduled meeting.

Managers should allocate some time for the team to bond in a more laid-back environment because of this. There may be unofficial gatherings with a predetermined frequency, fun activities with games and rewards, or even special initiatives that bring together teams or individuals that don’t often collaborate.

The presence of video cameras during these activities should be mandated by managers so that everyone can observe faces and gestures, which boost communication and increase familiarity.

  1. Make use of one-on-one meetings.

Managers frequently use one-on-one sessions to assess employee progress and spot possible problems before they become serious. These meetings are typically entirely business-related and concentrated on tasks and objectives. While it makes sense in an internal setting, managers in distributed organizations must go a little further in these meetings and venture (however briefly) into the more intimate ground.

These meetings might show whether a team member lacks motivation, is going through a difficult time, or feels alone. Naturally, managers shouldn’t snoop into people’s private affairs but should be alert for warning indications and offer assistance when possible. This can give them additional flexibility, connect them with experts who can assist them, or thoroughly go over the project to identify any potential issues.

Redefining of Roles

The most crucial lesson to learn from this is that managers must comprehend how their position is altered in a distributed organization. While the fundamentals are still important, there have been changes to how they must be applied. Anyone in charge of leading a remote team must examine their processes to determine what needs to be changed.

In addition, the management position is constantly changing at the same rapid rate as the workplace. It means that instead of a single occurrence of management redefinition, there is a continual process of change to stay in line with the demands of the distributed talent at all times. The distributed enterprise (and its team members) can only function effectively if this is done, and it requires time and effort.


 By Khawaja Haroon Nazim | August 10, 2022