One former leadership style supported leaders to rule with authority. More progressive leadership approaches have demanded more engaged approaches with an emphasis on inclusion. The entire remote work movement has pushed the style curve further into the need to develop team member trust to foster organizational success.
In today’s episode we interview Kevin Eikenberry, Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, and author of the books, The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership and The Long-Distance Teammate. Today’s topics are focused on communication with the intent of being understood–building and fostering trust so team members can interact effectively as they Team Anywhere.
The Importance of Understanding in Communication
A leader is not highly-effective if they are not good communicators. The shift to remote work has seen the need for communication being more important than before. Leaders should be able to understand that communication is not all about sending messages. It is about the message being received and understood at the same time.
Therefore, it is important for leaders to check for understanding. The key to understanding is by talking less, using stories, practicing repetition and asking questions.
Trust-Building in Remote Work Environments
Trust is both a noun and verb, but it is in the action that you get results. Part of a leader’s trust-building approach includes promoting less micromanagement, giving team members a chance to grow and develop, providing a safety net and by listening to them.
Leaders should diligently practice the act of “checking for understanding” since remote work creates barriers towards understanding. When leaders do that, it becomes a formal trust-building activity.
How to Deal with FTIs
FTIs, also known as Fewer Total Interactions, are an end-result of the shift into remote work. Because of this, leaders have less spontaneous communication with their team members. According to Kevin there are (3) three important tips to deal with FTIs.
- Keeping a Journal – Planning the conversation ahead of time before going into one-on-one Zoom meetings. Keeping physical or digital notes of previous interactions with team members is the best way for leaders to keep their team members in check and guide their own follow-up dialogue.
- Writing Questions – This provides the leader a chance to listen more to their team members.
- The Rule of Three – Kevin recommends that leaders should be able to make at least (3) three casual interactions with their team members everyday (via Zoom or instant messaging). This way, leaders promote more meaningful interactions rather than mindless transactions.
The Pros and Cons of a Long-Distance Teammate
According to Kevin, the average American spends about 27 minutes commuting each way back and forth to a physical workplace. Therefore, people tend to have at least 1-hour given back to them every single day by working remotely. Thus, remote work has given teams the benefits of flexibility and availability.
True, flexibility creates different mindsets towards work-life balance (different definitions of what constitutes a work-week), but the ability to choose a schedule that satisfies both personal needs and getting the work done, results in more positive and energized teams.
Who is Kevin Eikenberry?
Kevin Eikenberry founded the Kevin Eikenberry Group in 1993. Eikenberry has twice been named one of Inc.’s Top 100 Leadership and Management Experts in the World. He is the author or coauthor of three Amazon bestsellers: Remarkable Leadership, From Bud to Boss, and The Long-Distance Leader.
- LinkedIn —linkedin.com/in/kevineikenberry
- Website —https://www.kevineikenberry.com/
- Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/KevinEikenberryFanPage/
- YouTube— https://www.youtube.com/user/KevinEikenberryGroup
To learn more about trust building activities and meaningful interactions, download this episode now.
Online Courses for Leaders Leading a Team From Anywhere:
Check out these online courses for remote leaders from the Team Anywhere Team.