This week on the Distance Leader Podcast, we’re talking about employees expect from their distance leaders. Here are some of our guiding questions:

  • What are some of the explicit and hidden expectations do your employees have for you?
  • What are some of the explicit expectations you have for your bosses?

Direct communication with distance employees can be challenging!

  • Recently saw a Twitter post: “Remote communication: Talking with someone will help you have a richer communication, and help short-circuit potential lengthy back-and-forth conversations.” Although this seems like obvious advice, it’s more important that you might think!
  • Complications with schedules, time zones, and work priorities can prevent easy access to leaders and to employees. Poor communication can trigger feelings of isolation and mistrust.
  • Instead, shared expectations require communications. Better and more authentic communications support a sense of connection, shared problem-solving, and trust. Encouraging your employees to communicate effectively when you are not around is the key expectation you can reflect back to your team or teams.

Multiple perspectives of the same event can sometimes obscure expectations

    • What is the impact of limited access to leaders or employees?
    • Unclear expectations will almost always lead to not meeting the mark
    • Open dialogue on missteps helps establish expectations and “rules”
      • When should I call or escalate an issue?
      • When do you expect me to handle this as I see fit?
    • Some conversations you can have with your team members to set expectations:
      • Team member’s perspective:
        • Do you feel lonely or alone?
        • What do you see as the benefits of working remotely? Can I make it even better?
        • What problems do you experience that are related to NOT being with a team in a single location?
        • When do you feel like you need more support?
        • Are there sources of frustration that we need to discuss?
      • Team leader’s perspective – more for reflection than anything else
        • Does trust exist?
        • What expectations do you perceive that exist?
        • How often does direct conversation and contact occur?
        • When do expectations get reviewed? Monthly meetings? With every project?
        • Do you see yourself as only communicating when there is a problem? Does this create a feeling of negative perspectives for your employee?
        • Open door policy for in-office personnel… how do you respond to that individual employee?

As a leader, don’t be afraid to model upward to your boss, too!

    • Conversations about expectations
    • Explorations that support stronger work roles
    • Identifying ways your boss could be a better leader for you 

Bottom line

  • Being a better distance leader means that you are working hard to be aware and support your employee’s expectations
  • Strong communications are the key to effective expectations conversations
  • Help your boss understand your expectations as well by being a better distance worker

Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

0111-Employee Expectations of Distance Leaders

00:00 /