We want effective methodologies, too

Since 1997, our team has been using distance work technology and strategies to work around the world. We made a lot of mistakes, too, but we learned from them. Over time, we developed a powerful methodology that speeds up the online working process. By incorporating the most powerful research foundations with real-world experiences and examples, we were able to identify the themes that make some distance teams work well, and others that are doomed to fail.

Four critical connections

The Distance Work Connector is a flexible, extensible model developed after a comprehensive survey of distance worker and leadership research and literature. We developed the Distance Work Connector after trying to make sense of drivers and research questions behind the books, journal articles, and conversations around distance leadership.

Almost all of the problems in distance work environment start originate from a need to build connections:

Connections in context 

Organizations don't exist in a vaccuum, and have their own organizational flow and ways of working. A distance work environment is not a perfect system, and distance workers and leaders all have their own specific needs. The Distance Work Connector methodology starts with an exploration of the current work environment, goals, culture, and systems. Starting with your unique culture, team members, and processes is essential.

Connections with content

For distance workers, content is king... and queen, and princess. Virtual team members and leaders need patterns or pathways for information flow. Employees need to obtain the information they need to be successful, use that information effectively, and leaders need to make decisions using the information. Designed as a device- or platform-agnostic review of information management functions, this part of the Distance Work Connector supports different collaboration tool uses and techniques that can enhance information collection, sharing, and use throughout a virtual team.

Connections with colleagues

Distance team leaders and team members can feel isolated and lonely, two common predictors for lower performance and employee burnout. Connections to colleagues provides techniques for building a healthy distance working and leading environment through employee interactions. Distance workers need help to build interpersonal connections and support collaboration. The Distance Work Connector also builds team member expertise across time zones, cultures, and team boundaries. Since conflict is a part of team dynamics, too, this section includes a chapter on identifying and resolving conflicts and avoiding future conflict “hooks.”

Connections with leaders 

Employees need to be connected to their leaders in meaningful ways. In distance working environments, this need expresses itself differently than with in-person teams. In a sense, the team members are connected to their leaders in a purposeful “supply line” of information and direction. This connection relies on trust between the leader and the employee, effective and focused communications, and addressing multiculturalism challenges that occur in virtual teams. Additionally, the well-being of the leader is an important connection, too.

Let's start with something you can use tomorrow (or later today)

We developed this great resource, Five Steps to Building Employee Trust, and it's become something of a hit around here. We decided to give it away for free!

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