Onsite vs. Remote Work: 7 Key Differences in Leadership Style

Onsite vs. Remote Work: 7 Key Differences in Leadership Style

Not many companies had plans of shifting to a remote management setup. Still, employers made the sudden decision to allow their employees to telecommute because of the global health crisis. While some have thrived in a remote setting, others faced difficulties. This abrupt shift also brought challenges upon leading remote employees since the approach is different compared to when working onsite.

As managers, being at the front of your company in these times of distress is vital in guiding everyone to get back on track and move forward. As more organizations and employees switch to remote work,  company leaders must be prepared to evolve and embrace the shift.

This infographic will walk you through the key differences between leading your employees onsite and remotely, helping you find the right balance and effective ways to ensure a healthy work experience for your employees.

Onsite vs. Remote Work: 7 Key Differences in Leadership Style

The Importance of a Leadership Style

Strong and positive leadership behaviors can inspire your team to be more effective, productive, and motivated. Excellent leaders help people maximize their efficiencies to reach the company’s goals. Practicing good leadership behaviors are crucial to:

  • Retaining employees: When employees are being led in the right direction and receiving the mentorship they need for their growth in their current roles, they are less likely to leave the company.
  • Boost the team’s productivity: Consistent positive and solid leadership can inspire others to follow in their footsteps and drive the team to give their best performance in every work they receive.
  • Nurture future leaders: Excellent leadership skills and behaviors are essential in honing and fostering future leaders in the company. The leaders who exude this action can influence other employees to share the same vision and pick up the same mindset of constant self-improvement.

Key Leadership Behaviors You Need to Develop

There’s no one-size-fits-all leadership style that will suit both an onsite company of twenty employees and one with a hundred employees. The same goes for a remote work setup. However, there are similar leadership behaviors that onsite and remote managers can develop to motivate their respective teams to aim for the same goals.

Below are some of the behaviors onsite and remote managers alike could adopt and put in motion for better team productivity and improved employee satisfaction.

  • Effective listening

Displaying active listening skills shows that you encourage communication among the team. Excellent leaders know that listening can be more effective than speaking when building trust and inviting employees to share your vision. You can hone and show this by being attentive when they speak.

To help you practice, ask open-ended questions and make sure that you take note of the speaker’s key points. For remote leaders, try to set up a video call meeting with your team or individual employees so they can see that you are actively listening to them and not just scanning their email or chat message.

  • Learning compassionate management

Compassionate management means being more in touch with your team and seeing the situation from their point of view. This allows you to consider and genuinely understand what an individual is going through so you can take proper action to assist them. Being a compassionate leader can help alleviate your colleagues’ stress levels and work-related anxieties and improve their productivity and efficacy.

For onsite leaders, you can practice this by starting your meeting by checking in with your team—see if they’re getting overworked and stressed. For remote managers, you may have to double the effort since in-person meetings are not possible. Since your team is working from home, consider the distractions they have at home that may affect their well-being. 

  • Adapting to change

Excellent managers adapt to change and acknowledge that leadership is a continuous learning process. They can quickly assess the situation, adjust their strategies and approach, and evolve with the company’s and employees’ needs. 

For instance, since many traditional office workers were suddenly forced to work from home due to the coronavirus, managers were also forced to adjust to the new conditions. New solutions are needed for new problems and concerns surrounding remote work, encouraging them to think beyond their traditional ways.

  • Bringing others along as you grow

As you develop your skills as a leader, you must also guide others to develop and achieve their career goals. Nothing inspires an individual more than seeing their role models or leaders rise with every team member. 

Try to understand the distinct needs of your team members and their abilities and professional goals. Likewise, help those who are unsure of their career uncover their strengths. This may be challenging in a remote setup but can be overcome as long as you keep your communication lines open and do regular check-ins with your team. 

  • Improving employee communication

As someone who leads a team, it’s your job to establish standards and policies, so your onsite or remote (or both) team members receive important announcements at the same time and communicate properly using designated channels. 

Try to be open, transparent, and approachable. Moreover, schedule one-on-one meetings with your team members apart from your team meetings to ask how things are going for them and any concerns or suggestions they might be hesitant to share during team meetings. 

Be the Leader That Your Team Needs

Outstanding leaders have their own ways of leading a team effectively. Onsite and remote leaders may differ in style, but there’s one key skill they have in common: communication. Through excellent communication practices, you can inspire, motivate, drive change, and support your team members to meet specific goals.

Hopefully, you can practice the leadership behaviors above to help you steer your team in the right direction and hone your leadership or mentorship skills. If you need help completing your remote team, your recruitment agency can help you find the top talents you need to reach your business goals.

Ron Cullimore