Remote Management – It Starts With You!

The previous post sets the tone for our discussion on the subject of remote management. It is advisable that you scroll down and catch up before proceeding further.

All of us have come across terms like virtual teams, global teams and remote teams, used in our company lexicon to describe work groups, small or large, separated by distance and often functional boundaries. The working framework of dispersed teams, the people, the processes, and all supporting systems and tools, define the domain of the remote management challenge.  Undoubtedly complex, this one of the least addressed management frontiers, despite its potential of providing a competitive and differentiation edge to a globally dispersed organization.

A team works remotely if separated by five thousand miles, or even one mile. The company office or the vendor’s office two blocks down the road, as also, the shared services centre in another part of the world, are both remote. They are not within the same physical space, “under your very nose”, thus requiring remote means to communicate and collaborate on a day-to-day basis. Admittedly, additional diffusion variables such as differing time zones, languages, cultures, local conditions and legal compliances, do not play a role if the team is separated only by a short distance. But as we know, distance between minds can emerge in close proximity too, thus demanding sensitive handling even when managing relatively close but dispersed teams.  

Extending the logic, no business can truly exclude itself from the challenges of remote management. A supplier in another city, a branch office in another part of the country, and you are confronting the threat of remote management disruption. Furthermore, you, and nearly all those in the corporate world today, are a part of this everyday challenge.

And as the good man once said, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem!

The responsibility of addressing the varied obstacles presented by the dispersion of your team is very much part of your role. It is not written down in the job description, and unlikely that anyone prepared or forearmed you, but it’s there. You are expected to be mature and capable enough to “run with it”, whether in your role as a supervisor or a team member or both. It is precisely the same for the CEO, down the chart to the last employee. It includes other external members too, such as vendors, partners and even their employees, all those in the value chain serving the end-customer of the business.

If you have chosen to be a part of the corporate world, you are almost certainly part of a dispersed team. It is a choice you have made, and as a professional, you have to take responsibility for it. High performing, effective dispersed teams are characterized by this innate awareness of personal responsibility by all its participant members, internal or external.

Follow and comment on this blog for further discussion, to glean the considerations that impact your team the most, and devise a way forward to deal more effectively with the frontier of remote management.

Contributor: Navin Anand

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