Remote leadership can present many challenges in distributed organizations. It requires a constant line of clear and open communication regardless of geographical distances, and can make understanding problems and opportunities in your team more difficult. Needless to say, there are many pitfalls, but that doesn't mean there aren't solutions: We've rounded up our top three common issues to avoid with remote leadership and some ways that you can tackle them.
1. Isolating yourself as the remote leadership manager
A common pitfall of long distance leadership is to do everything yourself and not involve your teams, or at least practice transparency and thorough communication. Not only can this potentially send a message of distrust to store managers and employees alike, but it can also create a major bottleneck in the higher level decision making process. Try to delegate more tasks, giving store managers more responsibilities, and opening up room for collaboration. It’s better for the employees as well since store managers can better know the immediate needs of staff.
Even though you should be able to delegate responsibilities throughout your organization, it’s still important that you’re a present leader – not an absent boss. If you’d like to establish or maintain a transparent and open organizational culture, you should have one-on-ones so you can get the grips of your employees wellbeing, goals and wishes. Make your visits like wellness checks - ask and really listen to what store managers and sales reps have to say about what is or isn't working. Then they won't feel like you are never there, and don't actually have an idea of what's going on.
2. Not setting goals that are consistent and widespread
It’s hardly a secret that empowered employees is the number one driver of sales in brick-and-mortar sales locations. To define and set developmental goals is absolutely crucial to light the fire of employee motivation as they guide and organize the everyday actions. If you don’t set clear goals, they’ll have no idea what they’re working for. As an effect, productivity and in-store performances will drop.
If you're in charge of several different locations, look for patterns in what works and what doesn't, or employee sentiment. Find a common ground for a goal that all teams can reasonably strive for. It helps in a larger organization for sales teams to know that they are part of something larger than themselves and are one element of a thriving brand.
3. Holding back on the negative feedback
Yes, we understand that it can be hard to deliver negative feedback. The fear of being too rash, to strip the sales representative of his or her motivation or to be perceived as a cut-throat ruthless leader might feel overwhelming. However, this is only true if you deliver negative feedback in the wrong way. In the end, by keeping your lips sealed, you’re being unkind to your stores and your sales representatives as you’re depriving them of the opportunity to improve their performances. If you change your approach and deliver negative feedback to staff in a constructive way, finding opportunities for coaching for improvement, or asking them what they need in order to do their jobs, your sales representatives will thrive.
Also consider feedback and performance reviews a crucial aspect of your sales goals. In the end, the goal of all retail stores is to drive revenues. However, it’s hard to increase sales and results if you are unaware of where performance or potential is being lost. Utilize upbeat and real time performance overviews where you can see how each and every employee is performing and contributing to your KPIs.
Want to ace your remote leadership challenges? Our workforce management tool Goalplan®, relieves the line of performance communication between the manager, the store manager and the employee. Remote leadership made easy.