If you are leading a remote team, whether you’ve been doing it for years or are doing it for the first time, pick up a copy of David Burkus’ just released book, “Leading from Anywhere”. It’s a fantastic guide to the many challenges and opportunities remote leaders face in today’s world, as remote work has become a mainstay and an integral foundation for collaboration.

One issue I raised with David was concerning what qualities or aptitudes were necessary to be a great remote worker. His response was pointed, and in our belief, accurate. If you are looking to hire for a remote team, these are the things you should look for in future team members. If you are someone who wants to succeed at working remotely on a distributed team, keep working on up-skilling yourself in these three areas.

  1. Great remote workers are good collaborators. They coordinate their work well with others.
  2. Great remote workers are good communicators. Remote requires more frequent, “bursty” communication and more clarity.
  3. Great remote workers are self motivated. They are good at working when no one is watching.

One thing that surprised me from our conversation, and was one of my big takeaways was the necessity of a level playing field for organizations who will adopt what many are calling a hybrid model, with some mix of office and remote work. At Remotely, we’ve been concerned with preventing a caste system with those who must work in the office and those who have the option to work remotely, from anywhere. This arose based on our experience in previous situations where the few people who dialed into the big meeting remotely had little to no speaking time and power to influence the conversation because they weren’t physically present.

David suggests that in the hybrid situation, the best way to have a level playing field to ensure inclusivity is to have everyone dial into the meeting, even when they are in the same building. In this way, everyone is interacting through the same medium, and relatively equal in terms of their position and power in the meeting. It may sound weird, it may feel weird, but this is advice we will share with other remote leaders for a long time.

Over the coming days and weeks, we will share more pearls of wisdom from this hour long interview we did with David. However, if you have the time, I highly recommend that you watch the full hour of our conversation and purchase his book “Leading from Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Managing Remote Teams“. It really is a great set of insights and instructions on how to lead remote teams, from anywhere.

Interview recorded in November, 2020.

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