I had been managing remote teams globally for 15 years before COVID-19 hit. Operating in this environment requires people to be flexible, independent, and trustworthy. I needed to trust that they could convey a message to a client and accomplish tasks without needing a call from me or taking a last-minute flight to resolve an issue.

The greatest challenge I encountered was bringing new members up to speed with our workflow. For those expecting a conventional office environment, they were in for a surprise. It didn’t really exist. Each group retained elements of the home office’s culture, yet ultimately, they developed their own mode of working and a set of acceptable behaviors that suited their specific situation.

My challenge was to remain flexible with their working methods and be open to their ideas on what worked best with a client on the other side of the planet.

It’s a two-way street. You can dictate how something should be done, but you also need to be receptive to adapting when your team offers ideas.

Failure to do so risks losing them for appearing out of touch.

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