There is no denying the importance of competent leadership, however, understanding what actually sets a great leader apart from a good leader is sometimes harder to pin down.
Remote work has a way of highlighting what is working well and what is broken. This reality gives remote leaders a huge advantage over their co-located peers.
The sooner a leader can see a problem the quicker they can address said issue and take action accordingly.
Additionally, remote leaders will have an easier time identifying their own leadership strengths and weaknesses.
It’s always nice to see more clearly, one’s strengths.
To the contrary, seeing in plain sight one’s areas of weakness is not always as enjoyable.
At Rebel + Connect we believe that remote work is the future, which also means remote leadership is the future.
Perhaps more importantly, as more and more teams span times zones, nations, and cultures, remote global leadership is the leadership skills set that will produce the most ROI.
Those who wish to be seen as extraordinary remote global leaders must be proactive about personal and professional growth, seeking new insights, expanding their worldview, and deepening their connections with themselves, each other, and the global community if they wish to stand out as extraordinary global leaders.
You might be thinking… “That all sounds nice, but what exactly does that look like?”
There are 5 practices you can integrate into your life that will set you up for success as a remote leader.
Extraordinary Global Leadership Starts with Knowing Your People
Self leadership is vital to remote work success, but it can only take you so far. Those who aspire to lead high-performing global remote teams, must master interpersonal leadership.
Let’s assume you have mastered self leadership…
Imagine trying to get where you are today - to lead yourself to where you are today - with zero knowledge of yourself.
Seriously, if you had no idea who you were, what you valued, how you worked best, when you worked best, what your strengths and weaknesses were, would you have been able to lead yourself?
Leading people is no different. You must know the people you are leading. Without knowledge of your team members, you will fail to keep them engaged and motivated - you will fail to draw upon their strengths and account for their weaknesses.
That’s why getting to know your team is the most important thing you can do as a leader.
This can be tricky in a remote setting.
In the virtual office leaders have to be WAYYYYY more intentional about getting to know their team members.
Consider how you can use the on-boarding process to get to know your people.
Janice Chaka, Owner and HR Consultant at The Career Introvert, Speaker at the upcoming Remote Work Summit 2018, and Remote Leadership Think Tank Member outlined some really powerful remote work on-boarding best practices in her recent Think Tank LIVE presentation Remote Work On-boarding - How to Build Strong Relationships with New Hires Online.
If you are already a member, make sure to check that episode out!
If you aren’t a member, what are you waiting for??
We are having a blast talking remote leadership daily…
Request to join and then you’ll have free access to our growing library of remote leadership training resources.
However, all strong relationships need to be nurtured. You can’t just “get to know” your new hires during the hiring process and then call it a day.
We recommend setting up a random #channel in a chat app like Slack to encourage small talk amongst team members (including leaders).
Special Offer - Try Slack for FREE and get a $100 credit when you upgrade to a paid plan!
You might also check out the Slack app called Donut that randomly pairs team members for virtual social meetings.
Getting to know you team members is also a larger job when you are leading a global team.
Be aware of the multi-cultural makeup of your team. Spend time cultivating your own cultural competency and also learning the specifics of the cultures that inform your team members’ worldviews (paying extra attention to different cultural taboos!).
And of course… last, but not least… we can’t stress enough the benefits of hosting regular company retreats! When it comes to building relationships with your team, there is not a piece of tech in the world that can foster a felt sense of connection comparable to that of face to face real time interactions.
Plus, the process of planning a retreat - when done right - will also provide you with tons of insight about your team members.
Extraordinary Global Leadership Requires Lifetime Learning
Every leader would be wise to seek competency, proficiency, and expertise - you can’t well lead a high-performing team without self-confidence.
However, be mindful…
...don’t for a second trick yourself into believing you are ever done learning.
The key differentiator between good and extraordinary leaders is a commitment to lifelong learning.
Good leaders know what they know.
Extraordinary leaders know what they don’t know and seek constant improvement.
If you are thinking… “That sounds nice and all, but I am busy. I don’t have time to commit to constant personal and professional development.”
Knowing this, can you make the time?
Additionally, consider the quality of your professional network.
Based on the law of averages, you are the average of the five people within your network you spend the most time with.
As a remote leader it's vital to your company's success that you have a strong network of fellow remote leaders.
Join us in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala May 31st - June 4th 2018 for Remote Work Summit 2018, learn from our world class remote leadership and team building experts, and network with other global remote work leaders.
It’s gonna be EPIC!
Extraordinary Global Leadership is About Creating Cultures of Meaning
Entrepreneur.com defines company culture as a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time.
While some companies choose high-pressure cut throat cultures, extraordinary leaders understand that companies with positive, life-affirming cultures result in happier and healthier employees.
Studies show that…
...health care expenditures at high-pressure companies are nearly 50% greater than at other organizations.
...companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%, earn 1.2-1.7% more than peer firms, and are 2.1% above industry benchmarks.
As a global remote leader, a huge part of your job is to invest time and effort into the health of your organization, because an organization’s culture and health is just as reliable a predictor of success as sales figures.
Another perk of attending Remote Work Summit 2018 is to learn from our world class remote company culture experts. These unique sessions will dig deep into the pillars of company culture, creating diverse and inclusive global teams, and much more!
Don’t waste another minute stumbling around the topic of remote company culture, become the culturally competent remote leader your global talent pool demands!
Extraordinary Global Leadership Demands an Expansive Worldview
Adam Galinsky, Columbia Business School's expert on the relationship between creativity and travel, found that immersive experiential travel increases both cognitive flexibility and in-depth systems thinking, as well as generalized trust and faith in humanity.
Fortune.com explains that, “increased trust helps people feel more connected, more supported, and happier overtime.
Tony Robbins says it best… "The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can handle at any given moment."
Use the freedom that remote work provides to travel and explore the world.
Avoid fancy resorts that insulate you and keep you firmly rooted in your comfort zone.
Step into the world, change your perspective, gain new insights, and reap the benefits.
That’s why we intentionally include culturally immersive experiences in all the retreats we plan for our clients.
Just to help paint the picture, Remote Work Summit, allows attendees to choose between a Mayan cooking class, textile weaving, and a community service project “Paint the Town.” Learn more here.
This is also why we love Airbnb. Opting out of a hotel and instead choosing to stay in a local residence is a great way to get a feel for the local culture and possibly interact with some locals.
Extraordinary Global Leadership Respects Tech, People, and Nature
There is a gross misallocation of praise awarded to technology. Yes technology is amazing.
Advancements in technology are improving quality of life for people around the globe and without tech remote work would not be possible.
Beware of glorifying tech at the expense of your people and nature.
At this point, hopefully the value of investing in your people is crystal clear.
So let’s spend some time unpacking how nature impacts your leadership.
Nature is not only the source of much inspiration for the development of technology.
Nature - specifically time spent in nature - is an affordable, accessible and equitable form of preventative and restorative medicine.
Nature is the best nurture - many studies show significant health gains for those in contact with nature....
reduces anxiety and depression,
increases immune system function,
lowers risk of diabetes by 50%,
increases vitamin D production,
reduces symptoms of ADD,
lowers risk of heart attack by 50%,
and lowers risk of colon cancer by 30%.
Put yourself in your team members’ shoes for a moment and consider…
… would you want to be lead by a stressed, depressed, sluggish, scattered, unhealthy person?
… or a calm, happy, energetic, focused, and healthy leader?
I am willing to bet you would choose the latter.
Do yourself and your people a favor and step away from the computer to spend some time in nature.
Better still, find ways to apply your leadership skills to environmental education and causes.
For example, at Remote Work Summit attendees will have the option to learn about the local eco-system, plant reeds in the lake that help filter the water, or contribute to the preservation of a local nature reserve.
Conclusion - Extraordinary Global Leadership is a Holistic Practice
Extraordinary global leadership is a long game that requires strong relationships, personal and professional development, an understanding of cultural forces, a willingness to get out of your comfort zone, and diligent self care.
Share your Extraordinary Global Leadership best practices in the comments below.
Rebel + Connect creates custom retreats for remote teams. A Colorado based company owned and operated by Charlie Birch, Rachel McGehee, and Summer Weirich, we operate remotely and service clients from all over the globe. Join us as we create cultures of meaning and celebrate human connections in a digital world!
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