Managing from a Distance: the Importance of Leadership (Part 1)
Leadership has historically included a physical presence. It had to do with how you entered, commanded a conference room, your body language, eye contact, and so many other markers that created the aura of a leader. But what happens when physical presence is no longer possible?
Now that we’ve all had a chance to settle into facetime becoming more about FaceTiming, what was once about having a commanding physical presence has been replaced by proper Zoom backgrounds and strong wifi signals. Admit it: you can’t really come across as a leader with your Xbox in the background as your image keeps freezing, now can you?
Now that you’ve exchanged your power tie for a power background, it’s time to show some power in your work.
Yup, the onus is now upon you to deliver. You know, be a leader. From your gut.
Because being a real leader isn’t in how you look or how imposing you are. It’s about them.
Let’s assume that your work is top-notch. You know your stuff, you surpass your quotas, you deliver 150%. Yup, you’re leading by example there. But leveling up and consciously becoming a leader takes more.
Let’s take a look at the first 5 steps that motivational man-about-town Tony Robbins suggests for becoming a good leader.
5 Top Leadership Tips
Focus on yourself
OK, so this first one isn’t really starting us off well on the “it’s about them” angle. But it does speak to accountability. If you can’t commit to constantly growing and learning, you can’t expect it of those you hope to lead. That’s right, when it all comes down to it, all you can really control is you. So start there.
Remote leadership impact: It will work better to work on yourself if you’re not in an office full of people, no?
Lean in to what you bring to the table. Not all leaders are dynamite public speakers, but when they need their star to solve a problem, the eyes will be on you to deliver. Show ‘em how it’s done.
Remote leadership impact: Unless you’re a massage therapist, neurosurgeon, or an auto mechanic, it’s obvious by now that most jobs can be done remotely with no loss of quality. This is where you lead by the example of your work.
Work on your emotional fitness
Be the steady ship in the storm. Remaining calm when there’s a crisis helps to keep things moving forward and ease tensions. Being confident in your ability to come through and keep people focused and relaxed—with some well-placed humor, when necessary—helps everyone rise above.
Remote leadership impact: Clearly, this is where you can flex some of those leadership muscles. Emotions still can run high—maybe even higher—as critical projects are worked on distantly. Managing the process remotely while keeping an even keel shows that you’re not only dependable, you might be indispensable.
Know who you are and why you’re an asset to your company. Seek out feedback from your superiors to see where you can improve. Nourish your brand.
Remote leadership impact: Without breathing the same air, physical face time, and immediate feedback, you’ll need to be more self-reliant than ever to know what you bring to the party.
Adopt a growth mindset
“Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” might be an oversell here, but that’s the gist of it. Buying into Edison’s “I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work” mindset will serve you well. Keep bettering yourself, because really, nobody else can.
Remote leadership impact: It’s easy to stagnate and lose a bit of drive when you can work in your slippers. So unless your company has a robust training program or resources, you’ll likely need to double down on your self growth.
All right, that seems like enough to get you started for now. Now you have some homework to do before you move on to the second part of our top tips on how to become an effective virtual leader.
Don Seaman spends his professional life trying to put the alphabet into the right order to construct coherent thoughts that people can read. Now he does that for Surprise. You can find out more about this failed musician and retired superhero on LinkedIn and Twitter.