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Leading newly dispersed teams through uncertain times can present challenges for even the most seasoned manager.

Here are six tips to help managers adjust and lead thriving remote teams.

1. Maintain trust

We all know that trust is essential for healthy relationships. And work relationships are no different. Trust is also one of our organisational values. It’s important now more than ever that as managers we continue to show trust in our teams. Demonstrate trust by focussing on what needs to be achieved by when, not on how your team manage their time. Remember your teams may be juggling family and care responsibilities and may need more flexibility than usual.

Build and maintain trust by:

  • involving your teams in important discussions, such as how to reprioritise work or redeployment opportunities
  • being open about your intentions and expectations
  • seeking out opportunities for the team to collaborate and share ideas
  • inviting the team to share different views and perspectives.

2. Manage for outcomes

Let your team know what’s required of them. Be clear on what success looks like – what do we need to achieve by when and how will we measure our success. Then let your team work to their strengths to deliver it. Don’t forget to recognise people’s individual contributions towards the team’s success.

3. Communicate

Great communication at any time is important but when teams are working remotely it is critical. Communication needs to occur not just between you and your team members, but between team members too. Encourage your team members to speak to one another regularly. Consult with the team on what communications methods suit them, whether that’s email, phone or online meetings. Check in regularly with your team members but make sure you give your team enough space to get on with the job. As well as discussing what is required of them, invite your team to share what they need to be successful.

4. Stay connected

Regular team meetings help ensure everyone knows what everyone else is working on. They can help prevent duplication, provide an opportunity to share ideas and ensure that team members don’t feel alone when facing new challenges. Don’t let your team work in an information vacuum. Team meetings can be held online using DJC’s approved online collaboration tools including Cisco Webex or Microsoft Teams (more information is available on the DCJ Collaboration Tools page of the FACS intranet ).

5. Make it fun

Just because people are working remotely doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be time for banter. It may help to set aside some time for your team to socialise. You could try a virtual afternoon tea, or setting up a social channel on Microsoft teams to share funny photos, quotes or memes. Socialising helps cement healthy working relationships and can often lead to cross pollination of ideas. It is good for morale and helps ensure a mentally healthy workplace.

6. Check in on how people are feeling

Check in with your team members and ask them how they are doing. Offer support and encouragement and let them know they can always talk to you if they are struggling. Be clear about what’s required of them, help troubleshoot issues and be open to discuss flexibility if they need it. Encourage them to stay connected to other colleagues inside and outside the team. Make sure your teams are aware of the Employee Assistance Programs.

Want more support?

The People team are updating the FACS and Justice intranets regularly with a range of helpful resources related to managing dispersed teams and managing teams during COVID-19. Check the pages to find more.

Resources to support your mental and physical wellbeing are also available on the Health and Wellbeing page.

If you are interested in a topic not covered on these pages, please contact the Organisational Development and Learning team.

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Last updated: 13 May 2020