Historically, management has been based on the workforce being located in the same place, all there at the same time and sharing a common culture. This has led to many of today’s managers believing it’s their job to control the workforce.

However, the role of today‚Äôs manager is to lead others to manage themselves. After all, even if the traditional role of management is desirable, it simply isn’t practical when people are located all over the map!

Working effectively with teams made up of people from different locations means learning a whole new style of management. Although an effective style in a more traditional work setting, management by walking around needs some adapting for the new virtual workplace.

Most managers are used to being hands-on, physically checking in on the work being done, and getting updates. Therefore, they are naturally concerned about how they will control the quantity and quality of work when people are scattered about at various locations.

At a fundamental level, managing from a distance means learning to build trust and delegate effectively.

But developing the social warmth, spontaneous humour and social bonding that comes naturally when people come together, can be the leader’s biggest challenge.

Managers can deal with these challenges both confidently and effectively by adopting the following framework:

  • create a vision for the organisation, one that others find inspiring and energising
  • get great results, managing by principle rather than policy, boundaries rather than directives
  • actively facilitate, bringing together the necessary tools, information and resources for getting the job done
  • eliminate barriers by opening doors, challenging status quo and breaking down the barriers that act as interference to team success
  • understand and communicate the big picture, acting as advocate for the customer
  • effectively coach others to reach their potential
  • set a personal example, serving as a role model for the desired behaviours