A Guide to Leading Remote Product Teams: Key Traits for Success
Project managers need to embrace and lead remote teams more efficiently. Remote work has revolutionized team creation, contracting, and team leadership. Companies like Reddit and Twitter have embraced remote work and continue to evolve their teams.
Other companies like Microsoft have opted for a hybrid approach allowing some of their employees to work from home.
The future of work and leadership has undergone major changes. When leading a remote product team, you need to establish frameworks that will foster behavior change. The framework will be based on people leadership, result-oriented leadership, communication and transparency, and thought leadership.
People Leadership in a Remote Set up
When leading in a remote environment, you need to overcome the challenge of not having nonverbal cues or casual interactions. Such interactions help to build trust and empathy among team members in an in-person setup. As a product development manager, you will need to build trust by being truly authentic and showing your team you care.
- Proactively Support the Team
Informal meetings that are more personal can help you check in with your remote teams. These meetings enable you to notice when a team member needs help, and you can proactively offer support without them asking for it. Create an environment where team members feel comfortable approaching their product development manager in case of a problem is helpful.
- Recognize Outstanding Performance
During team calls, set time aside to recognize outstanding performances in the team. Mention and celebrate wins in such virtual meetings as you empathize with failures. This will serve as a motivation to members.
- Lead from the Front
Software engineers and other team members can be faced with tight deadlines. This is usually the case in most product development projects. As a remote project manager, you must become diligent in determining when and where help is needed. Contribute to providing help where possible in areas like testing or QA. Keep the teams informed by sharing updates on work progress, decision, and values.
Communication and Transparency
Regular communication will help to keep your remote team informed. Use group calls to inform team members of project plans, progress, and results. This creates transparency and eliminates inaccurate speculations. Products can be discussed in a personal way the same way it happens in a physical office setup.
- Make Productive Group Calls
Large remote group meetings can be challenging to set up and unproductive during meeting sessions. Have fewer large group meetings and emphasize more on focused smaller groups. Encourage valuable discussions, updates, and brainstorming sessions. To make the smaller groups more productive, share the agenda ahead of time so that members come prepared to participate.
- Encourage Direct Communication and Informal Interactions
Encourage members to communicate directly with each other. For example, software engineers can communicate with stakeholders. This way, the engineers can have a deeper understanding of the impact the product they produce has on everyday life. Unplanned conversations between team members are important for the flow of information. Communication tools like hangout calls will enable remote team members to discuss topics that are not work-related.
- Manage Different Time zones
Leading remote teams might mean leading across different time zones. The challenge is that you may have to work for long days and hours. Setting expectations will help you to navigate such challenges. Inform your team which hours you are available online and the problems that you can address offline.
- Encourage Collaboration and Emphasize Results
Team members need to share document files, folders, ask questions, and share ideas. Provide the right communication software tools that will encourage collaboration among remote team members. For example, you can leverage email, use Google Docs for collaboration or cloud-based services such as Microsoft 365. As a leader, avoid the temptation to micromanage your team, instead focus on results.
As a leader in your field, encourage innovation and creativity. Set up meetings to discuss ideas and encourage feedback. Regularly interact with your team to build credibility, trust, and respect.
Learning these leadership traits in a remote environment will enable you to acquire useful and formidable skills. Get on-demand access to our private community of developers and make every project a success. Finding great developers is hard. We make it easy. Schedule a call with us.