One of the most difficult things to do is manage a team or person remotely. When you have great talent and excellent resources in the field it is a no brainer, everything usually goes smoothly. When you have difficult and poorly performing resources in the field, things tend to get squirrelly. Here are some tips for managing remote resources that can help you mitigate a failing project or slipping timelines.
- Have regular recurring meetings - You need to stay in touch with your team, and when they are failing you want to stay on top of where they are failing and you can make tactical moves to help them or avert disaster. Go out of your way to make everyone attend these meetings, even if it is to validate they are attending. Having meeting where everyone shows up can be the objective of the meeting to make sure that you communicate that this time slot id dedicated to a certain project.
- Consume one task at a time - Sometimes your team will have a difficult time with an overwhelming task list, so shorten it into chew able pieces. Break your project or the work into smaller easier to accomplish stretches. You will find if you hide a vast master list people are more motivated to solve things and get small victories.
- Have working sessions - When things aren't getting done, get on a collaborative platform and work together, even if you are just listening to other people work. You can also ask good questions and maybe even find out why something is not moving and work around it. You don't want to tell everyone what to do, but you can ask great questions.
- Make the resources solve their own problems - Ask questions in such a way that you present your difficulties to the resource and try and get them to come up with their own solutions to the problem. Ask them what they would do faced with your difficulties or problems, even if they themselves are the difficulty and the problem. Usually people solve the problem and then you can turn around and ask them to do what they just suggested. This way they can't say it is a bad idea or the wrong path.
- Terminate your way to success - Fire all non performing individuals, terminate team members that are weak, slow or have no knowledge. Just Kidding! You have to evaluate if you need to make a changes in your staff, but sometimes you are stuck with who you have and what their capabilities are. Sometimes you are going to be faced with someone who has all the tribal knowledge about something but they are sick, on vacation or not interested, but they are entrenched in the org so you can term them. I find that complaining about someones lack of capabilities and weakness or availability is counterproductive and doesn't make you look good either. Re-scope, find supplementary resource, get managers involved and ask them what they can do to help you, if they are aware then you are somewhat safer than if you don' t communicate. Sometimes though you need to change up the team so don't be afraid to do that.
Managing remote resources is definitely challenging, but once you master it you will find that you can squeeze out projects faster and with more success. Be confident and don't be afraid to make hard choices.