Keeping your team motivated while they are remote is going to require you to get creative. When you’re in front of the room, when you have the company’s facilities behind you, you have a swagger that you can bring to the party.
Right now, it’s you, a laptop and a camera.
So what do you do?
- They aren’t robots – if they are, validate some captcha phrases just to be sure. But they aren’t so don’t treat them as such. Yes you need to manage your burndowns and delivery schedules, but you don’t need to overdue it. Now is not the time to burn people out on inflated delivery schedules.
- Eat – the team that eats together stays together. Whether it’s everyone getting takeout and sharing it, whether it’s everyone cooking something and eating it. Whatever – get together for lunch and chat about anything other than work. You did it before, you can do it now.
- Share – if you used to do things for your team at the office, i.e., buy coffee/tea, loan out books, take the team out for lunch. How can you funnel those funds into something else? Perhaps buy people a book that resonated with you and give them time to read it? Who knows maybe a book club will take off? This is going to require you to get a bit more personal with your team then you might have previously done before, but maybe by you leading they will do so more.
- Listen – if you’re having one-on-ones, use the opportunities to listen, not speak, it’s not about yearly performance reviews right now, it’s about monthly – “how are you and what do you need” – you can’t do it all, but you might be surprised as to what they really need.
Find what works for you and your team. Team Events are not happening these days unless you are doing some wicked remote LAN parties. Find what works, make mistakes, iterate and try again. But find what you can do make your team smile and motivated to make it through the next day.
No one said this remote or leadership thing was going to be easy.