You’ve managed to make it through the first year or so of your new small or medium business venture and even started to net a little profit. The question now is whether you will still be here in a few more years or if you will not make it to the double digit mark. One of the most important resources at your command is the network of remote staff and freelancers who help you keep your clients happy. Here are some tips on how to enhance your leadership skills and move your business to the next level.
Communicate Using More Than One Medium
Depending on what type of opportunity your company is facing, different types of communication may work best. Many business owners who rely heavily on remote staff or the use of freelancers need to have the process of email communications down pat. Emails are quick, effective, and provide everyone with a document of who stated what.
While not forgetting about email, broaden your horizons a bit. Consider using applications that allow for easier management of projects. When your team members can upload documents or perform tasks assigned via the app and mark them as completed, everyone has a sense of accomplishment. Along the way, you also have a permanent record of what was completed and when each task was finished.
Consider the use of video for group meetings. Go with a web conferencing tool that includes the ability to see and be seen by multiple people at one time. The combination of voice, visual, and graphic communication creates a sense of being close even when everyone is scattered over several different time zones.
Allow for Time With Each Team Member
Whether the person is an employee or an independent contractor, make sure to spend some time with each one. While it may be in a virtual setting, even a few moments here and there provides the chance to discuss questions, concerns, or talk about a job well done. This kind of reaching out reminds each person that they do make a difference in the life of the business and to you in particular.
Stay in Touch With Their Goals
It’s easy to get into the mindset of viewing each person as a resource who will do the same job for the next decade. Move yourself out of that idea and learn more about what goals your team members have for the future. Would one eventually like to move from independent contractor to an employee position? Perhaps another would be interested in training for another type of work within your company structure. Unless you know what goals each person has, you will never have the opportunity to see if their plans and yours have the potential to benefit everyone.
Try to Get Together Annually
When your team is spread out over the world, the idea of meeting face to face may seem daunting. This is especially true when you work out of a home office yourself. Even so, seeing each other face to face helps to strengthen bonds in ways that no amount of voice and visual communication in a virtual environment can accomplish. For those meetings, look to venues that can provide a setting large enough for the group. There are many virtual offices with conference room facilities and individual office spaces that would work just fine for this type of gathering.
Every day provides another chance to hone your leadership skills and strengthen your team of remote employees and freelancers. Identify one area that you want to improve upon now. Gauge the benefits that result and then move on to enhancing an existing skill or acquiring a new one. As you attend a conference in a meeting room at Agile or spend time in a virtual office, your leadership will positively impact the team and prepare all of you for greater success.