How to Make a Remote Manager Happy

The role of the team leaders is the same whether they’re down the hall or on the other state of the country. They need to keep everyone on the same page and make sure the work is getting done. However, the way they do that changes when they can’t just pull an employee into the office for a chat. Instead, they have to be deliberate about communication and set up systems to ensure the work is getting done.

The best managers know how to rely on their team members and keep them motivated. They’re available and not overbearing. Often things run so smoothly that it seems effortless. But it’s not. These managers know that their success is dependent on the efforts of each and every team member.

So what matters most to them? How do they keep things going smoothly? Here are some things that managers want all of their team members to know about what they need to do their job better.

  1. I don’t want to micromanage my team, but I need to know the work will get done. I need to hear from employees regularly and I need to know about problems early on. Employees build trust by letting me know what they are working on and doing what they’ve said they will.
  2. Communication is essential. I want regular updates and a consistent flow of information. But, I have a lot of people to stay in touch with, so I need to know how to reach employees and when they will and won’t be available.
  3. Don’t worry if I don’t get back to you right away. I have a lot of projects and moving pieces. If you’re doing what you are supposed to, I will leave you to take care of things. But, let me know if it’s urgent.
  4. Pick up the phone if you need to talk about a sensitive or controversial issue. Text and emails are fine for routine information, but if it’s an emotional issue, let’s talk to avoid misunderstandings.
  5. We’re a team and that means others are relying on you. Stay in contact with your colleagues and make sure they have what they need from you. Let me know if things aren’t working out.
  6. Get to know me and your colleagues. Good teams have good relationships. It shouldn’t be all work all the time. We all have personal lives too. Let’s share what’s going on so we can build connections.
  7. Keep me informed about what’s going on. I don’t see my team every day, so I rely on each member to let me know when things are going well and when they aren’t. Let me know if you are struggling.
  8. Let me know your professional goals so we can work out a plan. Even though you’re not working in a central office, you should be thinking about what you want out of your career. I can help you get set for a promotion or taking on new projects.
  9. Developing good systems will help you get through your day. I am not going to tell you how to manage your time, but I will offer suggestions if you want. If you find something that works, share it with the rest of us.
  10. Collaboration is important, so find ways to make that happen. You won’t ad hoc conversations in the hallways, but you can have them online. Find ways to connect with your colleagues and bounce ideas off each other.

Photo by Christina @