5 Must Have Traits Of Remote Managers

remote manager must have traits

Whether you currently manage an entire team remotely (or just a few individuals), or you’re thinking of making your first remote hire, you’re going to need stellar leadership qualities and the top traits of remote managers in order to rally and lead your troops from behind a screen. Enhancing your remote manager must have traits is not easy but it isn’t impossible either. In fact, with a lot of diversity in your team, you can learn a lot while you lead too!

Let’s start with the required skill set. You’re looking for the same skills you’d need as an on-site manager. The execution will be a lot different.

Get ready to take your remote workforce to the next level because our top tips and traits leaders need for remote teams will help you manage everything a lot better.

traits of a remote manager

5 Remote Manager Must Have Traits

1. Trust Your Employees

You’re a manager. You train your team and  you want results. That is your transactional skill set. Apart from this obvious transaction, how do you bring about transformation?

You need to understand that remote work can’t be measured by the clock. Productivity and value do not equal the number of hours that go into work every day. It’s the results that matter.

By all means, have set working hours in place to be adhered to, but don’t expect hourly updates from your working nomads. Set the right expectations, without being a micromanaging boss, because nobody responds well to that.

Effective remote management relies on the trust you put in your team. Always trust your employees until they give you a reason not to.

If you’ve ever heard Gary Vaynerchuk talk about trust, you’ll know what we mean. Trust isn’t supposed to be earned. Instead, it should be given away freely.

Offering this level of trust will help to bring out the best in your remote workers, who often want to prove themselves as valuable and indispensable to your business (far more than regular employees tend to).

Trusting employees is one of the top traits of remote managers because, without trust, it is nearly impossible to work in a remote setting.

2. Join The Technology Bandwagon

Knowing and using the right tools will make everyone’s life easier, including yours, so this one’s a no-brainer. It is one of the obvious top traits of remote managers.

A little bit of online research will help you find some of the best tools to support any of the challenges you and your team currently face.

Whether you want to get better at team communication, systemization, sharing documents, or dealing with the multiple time differences, there are many amazing apps that can help you with the same.

To save your time on research, we’re listing some of them here:

  • G Suite – Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar and Hangouts. Everything is in one place, allowing you to connect your team on multiple levels, no matter where in the world they are.
  • Boomerang – Allows you to write and schedule emails to be sent at specific times in the future, and be reminded to reach out again if you don’t get a response.
  • Slack & Trello – Platforms to unify your entire team’s communication, with all the integrated apps you need on a daily basis. Slack is a lot of fun for casual communication too. It is a great place for the team bonding activities and conversations.
  • Skype & Zoom – Free calls, video chats, and web conferencing. In a remote work culture, all face-to-face meetings are virtual, so this is very important.
  • World Time Buddy – Allows you to effortlessly convert multiple time zones, plan and schedule conference calls, online webinars and international meetings.
  • Dropbox – Shared online storage to upload documents and share with your team.
  • Basecamp – Projects and tasks can be tracked from start to finish, with responsibilities and next steps clearly laid out for employees. This keeps everything crystal clear. Who’s responsible for what is never a confusion and everyone’s on the same page. Otherwise, you’ll be scratching your head every day over an entangled mess of project responsibilities until you run out of grey cells.

These tools help people to stay organized, plan their work effectively and be more productive. Plus, they also  create a sense of team spirit. 

3. Effective Virtual Communication

Effective communication skills are vital when it comes to any partnership – marriage, business, and friendship too.

For example, If your partner gives you the silent treatment, but won’t tell you what you’ve done wrong – how on earth are you supposed to make amends?    

When you’re not able to physically communicate face-to-face, it’s important to set clear guidelines, deadlines and feedback for all tasks for the employees to understand what’s expected of them.

Out of sight should never mean out of mind. Learn the balance of checking in with your team, while also giving them enough space to get on with their job. Be approachable so that if they ever have any questions or need assistance, they don’t feel like they have nowhere to go.

The various tools we mentioned above will help you maintain different types of virtual communication on a regular basis. If you truly want to learn the top traits of remote managers, you need to know that being able to use technology is one of the most important ones.

Once you learn to converse with your employees instead of only instructing them, they’ll begin to feel empowered and respected.

4. Set The Right Expectations

You already know that hiring and firing employees costs your business money, so in order to minimize this, try and gauge whether the prospects are interested in sticking with the company long-term before hiring them.

Ultimately, you’re looking for people who aren’t job hoppers and could become an integral part of the team in the time to come.

After hiring an employee, put a clear working structure in place from day one. Define your business hours if you want to, discuss deadlines, meetings, progress reports, and conversations that will happen regularly in order to track progress.

Don’t forget to thank and reward people who do stick around and continue to meet goals and exceed expectations. You’d be surprised how far a bonus or a small raise goes.

Keep your remote team hungry to strive for even more success and continue to exceed expectations. Being one of the top traits of remote managers, this one needs to be practiced and perfected every day.

5. Invest in Building Relationships

Long distance relationships are difficult at best, so it’s important to take time to build them with your employees and encourage them to do the same with each other too.

Simply having an off-topic chat in Slack can work wonders for team building, and help each individual feel more valued and interesting to their co-workers. Celebrate birthdays and other milestones as you would in an office environment too – there’s no reason why special days like this should be ignored.

Try to arrange occasional, real-life meetups if your budget allows for it, because it’s tough to reproduce the same kind of powerful connection on a digital level, and can really help boost morale and strengthen working relationships.

While you are working on all of this, remember that adjusting to remote life takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight so give yourself credit for working towards it and be patient. If you keep at it, you’ll master the top traits of remote managers over a short period of time.

Managing remote employees is pretty similar to managing an on-site team, just without a physical communal workspace.

Naturally, it’ll take a while to adjust to the differences of a digital workplace, but as long as you continue to communicate effectively with your team and imbibe all the traits of remote managers, you won’t go wrong.

In fact, we’ll go as far as saying that once you get to grips with the basics, we think you’re really going to enjoy learning how to work remotely. You’ll never go back to a brick and mortar setting again.

Summing it up, from trusting your employees and knowing the right tools to effective virtual communication and building strong relationships, traits of remote managers set the right direction for the team. This leads to faster goal accomplishment and growth.

At DistantJob, we know how important most of these tools are for us on an everyday basis and if you’d like to know more about how we function, we will be happy to tell you. So, get in touch with us today! 

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Shani Jay

Shani Jay

Shani Jay is a freelance writer who works with DistantJob to research and synthesise the best remote work related content into practical, accurate and actionable guides and articles on how to improve remote leadership and better manage your teams.