Technology has made it possible to work in close collaboration with a team that is spread out across the nation. Sometimes even across the globe. Globalization of the workplace is giving employers the advantage of picking from a much larger pool of qualified people when hiring their team, but it also means that face-to-face communication is slowly being phased out by messaging or emails, depending on the urgency.
Face-to-face communication builds trust
Advancements in technology are great. But, losing that personal touch with your employees is not. As a leader, you need to be able to manage, inspire, and encourage your employees to do better. If you are only communicating via instant messaging services or emails, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to build strong bonds with your employees. Having a solid relationship with employees will minimize turnover, and help you build a team of dedicated lifetime loyal people. Of course, communicating in the written word can also seem Shakespearean and romantic, but when was the last time you sent a detailed handwritten note with daily instructions, or send an update email using iambic pentameter? Emails from the boss are hardly poetry, or particularly personal.
Customer service often touts a promise for personal attention, but in our rush to meet deadlines we often lose the personal touch with our employees, and that’s a shame. You should be giving the same personal attention to your employees that you promise to give to your customers. You want to use the same methods of gaining a loyal customer base, to gain a loyal staff.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t take advantage of the latest IT services and technology to streamline your business and communicate seamlessly with employees in another state. We’re just saying that you also need to throw in a few face-to-face meetings where you look each other in the eye and talk about next steps, problems, troubleshooting, successes, etc. If for no other reason, to build trust and help you develop a much closer relationship with your team.
Remember to call with good news, too!
One final thing to remember when you are managing from afar is to schedule a meeting, or even a phone call when you have positive feedback to give. If you only pick up the phone, or a Skype call when there is trouble brewing or you are in panic mode, your employees will start to develop a negative Pavlovian response to your calls. If the only time they see your face is to bring bad news, they will start to hate the sight of your name popping up on their screen.
IT solutions for Colorado businesses
Don’t be afraid of a few spontaneous “hey; you guys are doing a great job” calls to your team. It will open up your communication and bring the whole team closer.