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Remote Leadership Training: Why all managers need it, and how to get it

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Summary 

  • Managers across verticals are finding it hard to maintain team performance without the necessary remote management skills offered via Remote Leadership Training. 
  • Despite relaxed physical distancing restrictions, workplaces are actively adopting remote work.
  • Learn about the top 5 Remote Leadership Training courses to equip yourself better for handling a remote team successfully. 

Handling a remote team? Keep everyone aligned with ProofHub’s team management features. Start a free project. 

2021 marks a decade of me handling projects. Initially as an employee and now for my own company. But when the lockdown hit and everything got virtualized, I felt my managerial skills sink into a pool of redundancy. 

It was then, I realized that I needed to sign up for a remote leadership training course. (Link upcoming shortly) Many of the team managers working with me also signed up, simply because this new virtual environment came with unforeseen nuances.  

2021 is going to present similar challenges to most managers, whether they’re Boomers or Millennials. Company environments are swiftly embracing remote teams, and your only bet is to ready yourself for the virtual paradigm.  

I would admit that leading a remote team could get a little unprecedented. Your abilities to assess emotions, communicate clearly, and keep the project on track, can feel out of touch. 

But nothing to fret about, let me help you uncover the skills you need to lead remote teams, how to acquire those skills, and the remote management training course you need to go for.

Why Do Managers Need Remote Leadership Training?

Leadership Workshop

The World is Going Remote 

Remote work was an undercurrent for a long time but now it’s a widely accepted industry norm. The following stats highlight how remote work has taken over 9-to-5ers. 

Source
5 million Americans work remotelyOr have a job where they partly from home and partly from the officeGlobal Workplace Analytics
56% of employees can work remotelyOr have jobs that have some form of work that can be done on a remote basis Global Workplace Analytics
68% of workers work remotelyAt least once a monthGlobal Workplace Analytics
16% of employees work remotely full-time And are hired by remote companiesOwl Labs
40% of companies are hybridThat offer both in-office and remote work in varying proportionsOwl Labs
Africa and Australia are remote leadersWith hybrid or fully remote companies with 59% and 60% respectivelyOwl Labs

 

These stats prove that remote work is here to stay. Rather, the trend will only go upwards as the world recovers itself from the woes of the pandemic.

It’s safe to assume that your organization also offers remote work. Chances are that you’re already managing a team with remote members. Or certainly, in the near future, you will have members working remotely

In order to best prepare for this shifting management landscape, you need to understand the intricacies better than before. For which, a formalized remote leadership training and remote work tools can come in handy. 

Managers need Re-skilling 

I feel I am not the only one who found it hard to manage my team remotely. The need for re-skilling isn’t exclusive to me. A number of thought leaders have openly expressed the same.

Job van der Voort went as far as quitting his job at Gitlab to start his own venture remote.com. The new company is dedicated to helping organizations adopt remote work productively

He wrote in his blog, 

“We’re starting with making it easy to find remote jobs and discover great companies. Once we do that, we’ll focus on building tools for companies that make remote work easier.” 

Sara Sutton, co-founder of FlexJobs says, 

“People seen in their seats, during set hours of the day, are assumed to be working (whether or not it’s true). But when teams are remote, how can a manager tell who’s working? And what if some employees are in the office, while others work remotely?”

Tracey Malcolm of Willis Towers Watson in conversation with Anna Auerbach pointed out

“Not only will talent need to reskill, from handling and processing data to critical thinking and creativity in work, but leaders too. Leaders who have successfully been leading their organizations need to be updating their skill sets with a new emphasis in engaging around change and a more diverse workforce made up of digital talent, contingent workers, and even freelancers.”  

Remote Work Is Yet To Mature 

There’s no denying that this worldwide shift to remote work caught several companies off-guard. A very few were prepared to let employees work from home and still manage to keep operations sustainable.

After 1 year of the pandemic, the situation hasn’t changed much. This Forbes article on Remote Work Sustainability talks about how companies are still using make-shift tactics to manage remote operations.

An apparent sense of responsibility to make remote work effective is missing in organizations, which tells us that remote work is yet to mature. 

In such conditions, the pressure befalls the manager. Business owners expect the managers to magically win the war without the weaponry or training to do so. The result – poor project performance

Therefore, if you’re planning to navigate the job uncertainty that these after-effects will create, it’s better you start training yourself for it. The best starting point – remote leadership training. 

Future-Proofing Management Skills

As more organizations than ever shift their focus to the remote way of working, managers also need to adopt remote management skills.

As of today, most top organizations have encouraged their employees to work from home until the pandemic completely withers off. And thousands of managers are quickly upgrading their skills to rise up to the situation. 

Managers who aren’t up-to-date with these skills risk hurting both the team productivity and their careers. As I said earlier, managing a remote team can get unprecedented. If you fail to accommodate the change, you will begin to grow obsolete.

Many workplace studies carried out during the pandemic highlight how remote work will continue much after physical distancing restrictions have been removed. Workers will need compelling reasons to return to Brick-and-Mortar offices, and employers will need managers who are skilled enough to tackle this change.    

What skills do you learn in Remote Leadership Training?  

Leadership training

Of the courses that I have surveyed for the article, I found the following skills to be present in most of them. Here’s a quick heads-up on what your remote leadership training can look like. 

The New Remote Communication Etiquette

“Sorry, I was speaking on mute, let me begin again…”, is something we have heard so many times, that we are comfortable with it now. We have developed that extra patience for the speaker who hasn’t mastered the mute button yet. 

Similarly, there are several nuances native to remote communication that managers need to be careful about. In the office, you can guess half the things by reading the body language. You can catch the vibe of the person you’re talking to.   

Virtual ways of communication – Chat, Telephony, and Video Calls – in decreasing order of popularity, can’t match up the same level of interactiveness. 

I’d like to ask you, what does this emoji mean? It gives off an impression as if it’s smiling but forcefully. What’s the best way to use it? Is it a smirk or an acknowledgment? These questions can send your coworkers into thoughts you don’t want them to have.

Mastering Technology 

Using the right tools and using your tools right, is imperative to maintaining effortless communication.

Speaking on mute is the perfect example of this. Although we are comfortable with it now, you do lose a certain bit of credibility if it happens too often. The same goes for project management tools and the more advanced Gantt Charts that are all the rage these days.

Our reliance on digital tools for project facilitation is so high that a manager almost risks losing out on productivity by underutilizing them. 

Remote teams choose ProofHub because it replaces 6 project management apps with 1, you can too! Start a free project. 

At ProofHub, we were saved from introducing new tools in the workflow, except Zoom Meetings, because ProofHub itself manages most of the things with several of its features

Allow me to mention this blog in case you want a speedy start with ProofHub.  

You will be able to zip-zap through software tools as your team members gawk at the screen share in utter fascination. You’ll also discover ways to save time with automation features that modern telecommuting tools come with. 

Building Trust in Distributed Environments

The industry average of companies that offer remote work is 56%. Many of which even hire off-shore employees that speak a different language and belong to a different time zone. 

As more organizations open up to the idea of remote work, the inclusion of international remote employees will become a common place. At ProofHub itself, we have employees that work collaboratively with our core team from Russia and the USA.  

Building trust in such diverse and distributed environments can get difficult for the managers, especially if they’re not trained for dealing with cultural differences.

Therefore, with the help of remote leadership training, you will be able to learn how to be courteous to invisible differences, ethnicities, and phrases not to use on Zoom calls. After all, a virtual employee will only trust you if they know that their interests will be protected. And the manager is the first person anyone looks up to for that.

Creating Non-disruptive Remote Work Systems 

One rather less talked about challenge is building a system that fruitfully absorbs socializing, productivity, and efficiency needs of the organization.

This involves time for having fun virtually, making sure the team delivers work on time, and doing it all without disrupting the team’s camaraderie.  

It involves nifty usage of tools for project management, syncing up communication, and building a calendar that’s inclusive of fun and play. 

Most managers will tackle this challenge with hit and trial as there’s no template solution to this. But in any case, you will learn words of wisdom from behavior experts to better gear yourself for uncertain times.

Several courses talk about the successful remote work systems and how they saved organizations from falling apart during the lockdown.  

Remote Leadership Training Courses 

Remote Leadership Training Courses 

Course Objective – To teach the fundamentals of effective management via psychological and scientific methods in virtual environments

Who is it for – Team Managers, Team Leads, Organizational Leaders

Type – Recorded Videos, Remote Leadership Resources

Created by Hassan Osman who is a director at Cisco Systems and has analyzed several failing projects while working with Ernst and Young, this remote management training course is a psychological treasure.

It covers several psychological lessons for managers that are pretty useful in virtual distributed environments. You will learn about the art of Persuasion and creating a positive influence on the team. 

The most frowned upon part – Meetings, are also covered in the course. Learn how to have constructive meetings with definite agendas. Furthermore, the course ends with some effective pieces of advice on communicating over virtual media with a minimum gap for misunderstanding.

Course Objective – To enable managers to communicate effectively with remote teams from a global standpoint

Who is it for – Country Heads, Global Managers, Organizational Leaders

Type – Live, Instructor-lead 

A large number of remote employees are scattered across the globe and when you’re dealing with a diverse workforce, that too virtually, certain knowledge gaps begin to permeate.

This course covers the fundamentals of effective communication in distributed teams. It will empower you with techniques for streamlining the flow of information in virtual environments without creating siloes.

If you’re managing a distributed team or have virtual employees from several different locations, this course will be of great use to you. It covers tech tools and strategies for cohesion also.  

Course Objective – To provide the necessary skills for managing virtual and distributed teams via remote leadership training

Who is it for – Business Managers, Team Managers, Process Managers

Type – Live Classes and Recorded Lectures

This is one of the most comprehensive courses on managing remote teams training that runs for 6 weeks. It provides educational resources, live masterclass sessions, and community resources.

You will be taught by some prominent names from LinkedIn, Toptal, Doist, and Google that will share their expertise via interactive sessions. The remote management training course is self-paced which means you can keep learning at your own pace and refer to the content whenever you need it. 

In a total of 3 modules, it teaches you the necessary skills, ways to build a remote team, and adapting managerial practices for remote environments.

Course Objective – The course focuses on the digital tools and project management tactics to keep virtual teams productive

Who is it for – Team Leaders, Project Managers

Type – Recorded Video Lectures, Information Resources 

This remote manager training is oriented towards the technical sides of project management, primarily the project management tools required to manage virtual projects. It assumes that you’re already familiar with the human side of management and want to ramp-up your technology skills. 

It lets you achieve better team performance in remote environments with the help of time, load, and task management principles. You’ll come across several tools that winning team managers use to deliver projects virtually. 

Curated by the University of Leeds, the course is a vibrant mix of geek wisdom and tech expertise that will inspire the inner problem-solver in you. The instructor Sophie Pendrell, has over 30 years of experience in education and working remotely. 

Course Objective – To inculcate technical, management, and emotional skills into experienced or new team leaders

Who is it for – Team Leaders, Project Leads

Type – Live, Instructor-led 

It’s a quick 4-hour course on helping team leaders develop skills necessary for managing a virtual team. It delves into several key areas such as team management, emotional intelligence, virtual team building, and a lot more.

The course is facilitated by Joseph, who is an ICF accredited coach and a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD. In this interactive live course, he teaches managers practical ways to develop positive team environments. There’s a 2-hour session for experienced managers and a 4-hour deep session for managers who are new to the game altogether. 

Being an instructor-led live course, it delivers the lessons in a more effective way. 

Want to be a star remote manager? Shift to ProofHub 

Conclusion

I believe it’s an opportunity for managers to step out of their comfort zones and learn something that will stand the test of time. 

Remote employees are happy working from their place of choice and organizations are happy hiring remote workers. The middleman – the manager – becomes pivotal to bridge any gaps that may exist in uniting the two. 

The future of work will be dominated by managers who can understand the nerve of employees by the tone of their voice on Zoom calls, the emojis they use in chat messages, and how shy they are in sharing their weekend stories. Hence, the need for remote leadership training is apparent, and as a smart manager, it’s recommendable to hone your virtual team management skills.

 Sandeep Kashyap
Sandeep Kashyap

Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder and CEO of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. He’s one person always on a lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams, and organizations. You’ll find him saying, "Let’s go!" instead of "Go!" many times a day. That’s what makes him write about leadership in a way people are inspired to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.


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