Who would have imagined we would have spent the best part of 2020 managing our teams through a screen? Well, that’s what we have had to do right now. 

As we all know managing people is probably one of the most challenging but rewarding career choices we can make, throw in leading a team from afar and it will really test and stretch your management style and experience!

Now more than ever as a leader we must be an exemplar at providing guidance and effective leadership to our teams who are not only working remote from us and but their usual working environment too.

Over recent weeks I have been spent a lot of time reviewing with people in my network what tools they have found to be most effective and what has helped them optimise their team’s performance during the last six months. 

Now for some good news – by being completely remote it appears to have taken away some of the misperceptions we may have of how our reports are working. In place of any perceptions, leaders are relying on fact-based outcomes linked to clear objectives.

As you have been adapting to your new working environment, remember your team will have had to adapt to their new working environment too and the new challenges and distractions that this may inevitably bring.  Each team member will respond to their new environment in different ways. 

Based on my recent conversations – here are five helpful reminders of our responsibilities when leading teams through these ever-changing times.


Ensure you are providing both a clear vision for the future and setting a clear strategy and direction for your team, whilst acknowledging the reality of today’s situation and giving hope for the future.


Set clear expectations of what is the expected of each functional area in your span of responsibility, linking it to the overall strategy of your business. Ensure the expected outcomes are realistic and achievable.


Encourage your individual team members to challenge the strategy and suggest alternative ideas to ensure overall the outcome is achieved, keep them engaged in the objectives to optimise the team performance and desired outcome.


Ensure you set up a regular communication cadence, but be prepared to adjust to suit your team members when needed. Resist setting up too many check-ins which will distract and drive the wrong behaviour. 


Remember the responsibility that comes with managing and leading people, your role is to LEAD and INSPIRE your team wherever they are based: in the office or remote. 

Here are some more ideas for you to consider:

As a leader where am I spending most of my time? Am I being personally effective in supporting my teams?

What can I do increase the overall effectiveness of my resources and optimise output and outcome?

Am I creating the right environment to allow my teams to develop further, whilst being flexible to individuals within the team?

Next Steps…

  • Review current team outputs and performance by using fact-based measurable items as data points.
  • Discuss with your team new and better ways of working, based on what we have discovered over the past few months.

A final point for you to consider – am I being somebody’s best boss right now? Am I seeing the full potential in a team member that they haven’t yet seen for themselves yet? 

Niall Anderson


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