Being a great manager can feel like an enormous challenge. Alongside juggling your responsibilities, you’re also tasked with motivating and getting the best results from your direct reports. Doing this in a remote context can also add to the challenge. In this article, we’ll explore how to be a great manager in a remote company. 

Apple MacBook beside computer mouse on table

Be Present

Being present isn’t code for micromanaging. Instead, it’s about making sure you’re accessible to your team, and they know they can rely on you for advice, knowledge and support. Manging a team remotely doesn’t equate to being distant. Instead, be sure to set clear expectations around your availability and make sure you’re approachable.

Make time for 1-1 meetings

1-1’s are a crucial opportunity to meet with your direct report. And it should always be a two way space. Consider creating an open agenda (using a tool such as Asana), so that both you and your direct report can add items before the meeting, whilst also having time to prepare ahead.

Silver Click Pen on Open Book

1-1’s should be recurring scheduled meetings and generally you should make sure that your 1-1’s take place on a weekly basis. This time is really important, so be mindful of last minute cancellations, or letting meetings slide.

Build Trust

Trust takes time. But it’s fundamental to any good relationship. If there isn’t trust between you and your direct reports, it’ll be almost impossible to achieve the best outcomes. And trust works both ways. Even though your direct report might be in a different time zone, or in a different location, don’t allow this to act as a barrier. It’s important to demonstrate that you trust your direct reports to do the job they were hired to do, and have confidence in their ability.

hands, finger, touch

Likewise, be open and transparent. Don’t be afraid to share details of what you’ve been working on with your wider team, and, where possible, involve them in your projects. Show interest in personal development, and be sure to regularly provide feedback – both when things are going well, and when you see room for improvement. Providing high quality feedback is one of the most effective ways to help your team members grow, and providing you do it correctly, it’ll be met with appreciation.

Take the time to establish a connection

Establishing good rapport is the key to promoting excellent communication, and a strong working relationship. During meetings with your direct reports, instead of jumping ‘straight into business’, take the time to ask them how their week has been and make sure to show interest in them as an individual.

Through building a good and professional relationship, it’ll be much easier to build a connection based on trust and transparency. Additionally, it’ll also make it easier to navigate more challenging conversations.

Ask for feedback and action it

As a manager, you should never be afraid to ask for feedback from your direct reports. In fact, it’s just as vital as giving feedback. Take the time during 1-1’s to ask for feedback and create the space for it. If you’ve successfully built trust, your direct reports should feel confident that they can share their feedback with you.

man using MacBook

Even if it’s difficult to hear, or you disagree with it, make sure that you stay open, and just as importantly, take the time to reflect. Getting feedback will help you improve as a manager, and work better with your team. Create an action plan and consider how you can use feedback to improve how you do things, and get better results.

What are your top tips for being a great manager in a remote company? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!