7 Ways Great Managers Lead Effective Remote & Global Teams

Managing a remote, global team isn’t easy, so we’ve gathered our tried and tested top tips to help you excel.

7 Ways Great Managers Lead Effective Remote & Global Teams
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Highly effective management is one of the most important drivers of company success. It can boost engagement, productivity, and ultimately your bottom line. But managing a team remotely can be really challenging. That’s why we’re here to help.

As a fully remote, global-first team, we’ve experienced all the ups and downs of remote management, and we’d like to share our learnings with you. So here are the seven ways great managers lead effective remote and global teams.

1. They Have a Clear Direction & Goals for the Team

Ultimately, managers are leaders, whether they manage one person or 30, and great leaders provide direction. So it’s important to outline a clear strategy and objectives to help align your team and work towards a common goal.

Each quarter, sit down with your team (virtually) and walk them through upcoming projects, priorities, and targets. Ensure they understand the role they play within your strategy and feel comfortable asking questions and providing feedback. Do regular team and one-to-one check-ins throughout the quarter to keep track of progress and keep them up-to-date with any changes in direction or prioritization.

And remember, there’s a difference between giving directions and giving direction. While the former creeps into micromanagement, the latter gives team members the freedom and autonomy to pave their own path to reach a common goal. This gives your team more freedom to be creative and share diverse ideas, which will help them and your business to thrive.

2. They Have Excellent Communication Skills & Processes

Strong communication is crucial for any business, but especially so for remote and global teams. An effective manager will help their team overcome remote communication challenges to boost collaboration and productivity.

In a remote setting, it can be useful for managers to overcommunicate with their team. Far from micromanaging, overcommunication simply means using different channels to repeat messaging to the same audience. This is especially important for global teams, where your staff may be located in various time zones. For example, you may give your team members an update on Q3 targets in a video call and then follow up with all the details in an email or Slack message. Whether all your team members were present at the meeting or not, they will have a clear understanding of the targets and everything that’s expected of them. This is fundamental to asynchronous communication, which you can learn all about here.

Organizing regular one-to-one meetings with your team members is another way you can enhance communication and productivity. One-to-one meetings are a chance for you to have meaningful conversations with your direct reports about important matters, such as their performance, concerns, successes, and general life updates. It’s an opportunity to develop a stronger connection with your team members while helping them stay on track.

3. They Champion Mutual Trust & Psychological Safety

Effective remote management requires trust; trust that your employees will do their job well even though you’re not in the same room as them - or even when they’re halfway across the world! Conversely, micromanagement is highly detrimental for remote teams. So how do you foster trust and still get results?

The answer is complex but put simply, you must set your team up for success with the right tools and processes so they can do a great job without the need for micromanagement. This will empower your employees to take responsibility for their tasks and hold themselves accountable. Of course, a completely hands-off approach isn’t recommended, either. It’s about balancing strategic guidance with autonomy.

Psychological safety is also a big part of trust. This allows your employees to be creative, provide honest feedback, and make mistakes without fear of punishment. In other words, it’s crucial for innovation and engagement.

4. They Take a Proactive Approach to Team Health & Well-being

Great managers are results-driven but not to the detriment of their team’s health and well-being. They genuinely care about their employees as individuals and take proactive steps to ensure they’re engaged and happy at work.

In practice, this might look like:

  • Using one-to-one meetings to ask how an employee is really feeling, both in and out of work.
  • Ensuring your team members are maintaining a good work-life balance.
  • Learning about the signs of stress and burnout and the steps you can take to minimize it.
  • Acting as a gatekeeper to external requests so your team can focus on their top priorities.
  • Prioritizing workload and ensuring that performance expectations are realistic and maintainable
  • Showing appreciation for good work through reward and recognition.
  • Making diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority within your team and the wider business.
  • Ensuring your staff take enough time off work to rest and recharge.

5. They Have a Coach-like Mentality

Managers aren’t just leaders; they’re coaches too. A great manager can have a hugely positive impact on their team’s growth and development, helping them succeed in their current role and future career opportunities too.

It’s crucial to be able to identify your team members’ strengths and weaknesses. That way you can work with them to help them improve and find their niche. Working together to create a development plan and objectives can help structure their growth, improve productivity, and boost retention.

If your company has a learning and development budget, encourage your team members to use it to buy books, go on training courses, or get a new qualification. And be their cheerleader along the way!

6. They Provide Regular, Candid Feedback & Praise

One of the most important aspects of being a manager is giving feedback, but many still struggle to do so effectively. Perhaps you’re afraid to hurt someone’s feelings or just find the feedback process awkward. However challenging it may be, high-quality feedback is essential to your team’s success and productivity. The key is to make it candid - neither cruel nor falsely positive, but honest and constructive. Something your team member can take on board and action moving forward.

You probably have an official review cycle once or twice a year, but it’s important to provide regular feedback between those cycles too. Find out how each of your team members likes to receive feedback and do so accordingly. Some may prefer to receive feedback privately and face-to-face, while others prefer written feedback. Tailoring your feedback style to each individual can help relieve some of that awkwardness.

And remember, rewarding good performance is just as important as providing constructive feedback. In fact, according to a report by O.C. Tanner, 79% of employees who quit their jobs cited a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving. So shout out good work, reward effort, and let your team know you appreciate them on a regular basis.

7. They Always Strive to Improve

Being a great manager doesn’t mean being a perfect manager - nor does it mean being the absolute expert on everything. That would be an impossible task. Instead, effective managers take ownership of their flaws and mistakes and commit to a continual journey of learning.

After all, even the best managers in the world have room for improvement. Preferred management styles and processes are ever-evolving, particularly as the workplace continues to change at such a rapid pace. So it’s important for managers to learn to evolve and adapt with them too.

Omnipresent Gives You More Time to Manage Your Global Team

Managing a global team is tough enough without having to think about compliance. So let us take care of it for you. Omnipresent is your global employment partner; we can help you hire and pay top talent in over 160 countries and regions compliantly.

When you partner with us, we handle compliance and HR administration like employment contracts, payroll, benefits, and more, so you have more time and energy to focus on leadership.

Sound good? Book a call with us to get started!

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Dani Coetzee

Dani is a People Partnering Manager at Omnipresent, where she is responsible for enhancing culture and the employee lifecycle within the Engineering team. It was during her years in engineering leadership that she discovered her passion for developing cultural intelligence within high-performing engineering teams. She was born in South Africa and is currently based in Stellenbosch.

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