How to be a Strong Remote Leader During Lockdown

May 1st, 2020
How to be a strong remote leader during lockdown

As the Coronavirus crisis and its ensuing lockdowns usher us
into our 2nd month, it has escaped no one that we’re all now part of
a great experiment in crash course remote leadership.  We are all learning
the concept of virtual management on the fly with at least some of our
workforce – and as we go, we’re now realizing how this disruption affects our
teams in different ways – mentally, emotionally and operationally. We wanted to
share with you some reflections from our Fulcrum team on this new environment
of remote leading.

Team Management
In navigating this crisis with our new remote workforces, as team leaders,
we’ve learned that our teams consist of individuals who all have their own way
of dealing with the changes that have come our way.  Our employees run the
gamut - extroverts who are now struggling with working at home and isolation,
or those affected by fear of change who might be also wrestling with anxiety
and new technologies to learn, and yet others who are at their most resilient
and agile when navigating the toughest challenges, but perhaps coming a little
too close for comfort to burnout stage. 

Here are a few words of wisdom from The Fulcrum Group, on
some things we’ve learned so far:

On successful Remote Team Management

  • Michael Schmidt, Fractional CIO, suggests, “setting goals and metrics for your employees to provide guidance and a sense of purpose. Check on the needs of each employee and review obstacles of working from home frequently.  Make necessary adjustments to assist with creating an efficient work environment.  Also, provide the proper tools so your team member can be the most efficient in their remote environment (Laptop, Headsets, Phone, Internet Access/Hotspot, etc.)”
  • Steve Meek, Fulcrum Group President, advises “Utilize collaboration tools like MS Teams, that facilitate team work.”

On the importance of communication

  • Michael -  “Setup Daily Huddles to review each day’s objectives and address any unexpected items or concerns. Create an open channel to management, to address any employee needs.  Be present.”
  • Steve - “Use video tools to make stand up huddles visual.  Find ways to replace ‘water cooler’ talk for more engaged team members. Consider initiating email memes, adding fun to company meetings, utilize games like for virtual happy hours.”

On your personal availability, and leadership style

  • Michael - “Be a mentor and not a critic.  Working remotely is a new experience for the majority of the workforce.  Trust your employees to perform while resisting the urge to micromanage.  Guide your team through this process.  Well-defined goals and metrics will allow you to access remote worker performance and provide the employee with the tools to confidently perform. And keep in mind, employees performing well in the office tend to perform well remotely, with proper coaching and direction, irrelevant of location.”
  • Steve - “Don’t forget to encourage people to get away from their home office and walk around.”

On the basics of Security

No time like the present to remind users about work from
home security basics, including:

  • Only use corporate
    assets (which have antivirus, controlled patching, web filter agents)
  • Only you using the
    device (following good web browser hygiene)
  • Ensure home wireless is
    at least WPA2 and use a non-default password on router
  • Log out of remote work
    sessions during extended breaks and at end of day
  • Secure laptop when
    traveling with it (keep it with you over lunch, lock in trunk instead of
  • Beware
    phishing attacks
    in coronavirus news (some estimates say attacks have
    grown 600% worldwide)
  • Ensure smartphones that
    can access company email or data also have 6 digit pins, passwords and
    security controls
  • Save company data to
    corporate servers, OneDrive and other file sync software, where it will
    be backed up