The nature of management, as with most areas of today’s business, is constantly evolving and changing through the introduction of new work practices, schedules and technologies powering collaboration and communication among teams. In particular, the adoption of video and web conferencing technologies is empowering the new era of the remote manager, where leaders and their direct reports may not be in the same city, state or even country!
Millennials, the largest generation currently in the workforce today, are tech-savvy, social creatures and can respond well to remote leadership, provided the proper tools are in place. I, for example, am a Millennial with a remote manager and the experience has been flawless thanks to near-daily face-to-face interactions with my manager over iMeet®.
Here are some best practices for virtually managing your teams:
Be Attentive but Don’t Smother
One of the biggest concerns of remote managers is being able to check-in regularly and ensure that their direct reports are actually working and that they’re receiving all of the attention and instruction that they need. It’s important, especially early on, to build trust and regularly reach out to your employees to understand their unique work styles and what, if anything, they need from you.
Millennials in particular crave mentorship but don’t want to be smothered or feel like they’re being constantly “checked up on.” Over time, develop a strategy of reporting and communication so that you can be apprised of your reports’ progress and needs while simultaneously helping them feel accomplished and effectively lead.
Understand and Embrace Technology
Obviously remote management entails a technology component, even if it’s just a phone call or an email. However, these types of old-school interactions are lost on Gen Y, who far prefer texting and Facebooking to picking up the phone.
In order to really engage your direct reports virtually, you need to engage them in an intuitive, personal and social technology environment that allows you to build rapport and develop trust even across long distances. The high-definition video, personalized backgrounds and profile pictures and social media integration of iMeet makes it a perfect tool for remote managers and their Millennial reports. And employees of all generations are becoming increasingly comfortable with video in all aspects of business. In fact, 66% of job candidates prefer to use video during the interview process; they’re comfortable with the technology before you even hire them!
Best of all, iMeet features a suite of mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, keeping both managers and direct reports connected even while on-the-go.
Share, Educate, Inspire
In a recent Forbes article on the qualities of a modern manager, author Jacob Morgan wrote, “Today managers cannot believe in hoarding information but in sharing information and collective intelligence.” A culture of sharing, both personally and professionally, is vital to building trust and rapport between managers and direct reports. Whether it’s a best practice you’ve developed over the years, vital business intelligence or just a story about your family’s recent vacation, opening up to your reports makes them feel included in business decisions and more engaged and connected to you as a leader.
Millennials, the generation of Facebook and Twitter, are a sharing culture, and feeling that connection with their managers, particularly remote ones, is a vital element to effective virtual management.
For more tips and insights on remote workers, download PGi’s free eBook!