Leading and managing a group of people at a single location is not an easy task and managers often tell me it is the people-side that wears them down. When your team is very diverse and located at different remote locations instead of at one location, the challenges and risks of the team not reaching goals multiply. The resource I am sharing today is a checklist for team leaders or managers/supervisors of remote teams and it focuses primarily, but not exclusively, on the the people-side.
The downloadable checklist above lists a number of items to consider when you are leading a dispersed or remote team. This may be a useful check for team leads or project managers to ensure they are taking into account the additional challenges that remote teams bring and are taking the appropriate actions and precautions to manage the interpersonal and communications aspects on such a project.
The checklist items are grouped by the following main topics:
Critical Skills for Supervising International Project teams
Setting Goals and Expectations
Giving Feedback and Coaching
Establishing a Good Start
Working with dispersed team members can be very interesting and it can be fun to learn about other cultures and other perspectives. However, those same interesting differences can make remote teamwork frustrating and difficult. The checklist shared here can go a long way towards helping you, as the team leader, take advantage of leading a diverse team while successfully managing the harder part of leading teams.
Giving and receiving feedback especially around undesired behavior can be a daunting task. Not only is it typically hard for employees to hear corrective feedback, but it is also typically hard for managers and supervisors to give that kind of feedback. It nevertheless remains an important part of ensuring that performance expectations are set and met.
This template helps a manager or supervisor think through the important aspects of giving feedback to an employee and helps to plan and prepare for the actual feedback meeting.
The template and approach also helps plan positive feedback to employees. This aspect is often neglected, but equally valuable in helping employees understand what specific actions and communications are valued and should be continued.
Never give important feedback via an email or sending this worksheet to the employee. It should always be done in person or at least through a phone or video call. – if an in-person meeting is not possible.
The feedback should be given as soon as possible after the event to minimize surprises at the structured annual performance feedback meetings and to ensure the employee still has a good recollection of the situation or event that took place.
Do allow the employee to respond once you have shared the feedback to ensure that your message is understood by the employee and to allow you to understand any nuances to the situation which you may not have been aware of.
It is always a good idea to agree on a check-in moment at some time in the future. This is an opportunity to see if the employee may have further questions or comments at that time or perhaps he or she has been working on improving a particular skill related to the feedback you had shared and perhaps he or she could have some successes to share with you!
Sharing feedback with an employee, when it is not positive, can be tough to execute even with a tool like this. It depends a lot on your own style for managing conflict and whether you prefer to avoid conflict or situations where people may be upset with you. Take some time to learn more about your own conflict management style if giving feedback to employees remains a challenge for you even when you have used the template to prepare for the conversation.
Effective managers know how to optimize the value provided by their departments and groups by effectively delegating tasks to their direct reports in a way that continuously increases the skills and competencies of their direct reports. Tracking who is working on which delegated task at a given moment can be tricky though. The template I am sharing is a great way to keep track of not only who is working on which delegated task, but also what was the overall purpose of the delegated task.
Try to match the task or activity/project you need to delegate to the right person in your team given their current skills and competencies and also matched to current development needs each of them have. The template is based on a list of categories to consider: (see second tab in template for the definitions shown below)
The delegation tracking sheet helps you keep track of the level of capability the person has – which uses the definitions above to help remind you how much support he or she might need with that task.
Use the drop down list in column B to select the category that applies to that task/project and the person that you are delegating to. You can create more lines for delegated tasks by just inserting a line between the existing lines.
Reasons why this list can be very useful:
Keeping this list up to date and referring to it in a regular basis will help you remember when to check in on someone working on a delegated task or project.
You keep track of the reasons why you gave a specific task to someone – from a developmental perspective. This means you know how much support and coaching may be needed while the person is working on this task.
Avoid giving the same task to more than one person. There is nothing more demotivating to an employee than finding out another colleague is working on the exact same project as he or she is after having already spent several hours doing research and talking to people about the project in order to deliver a great result.
You can do more and accomplish more as a manager when you don’t have to rely on your memory alone to remember who is working on which tasks and projects for you.