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5 Key Things You Need To Manage A Team Across Time Zones

Written by: Mariela De La Mora, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Leading a team can be challenging enough in itself, but leading a team across different time zones takes a whole different approach. Whether you’re leading a global division with teams located in various cities across the world, or your team went remote as a result of the pandemic, mastering effective leadership when you aren’t face-to-face every day can be tricky to adapt to.

Effectively leading teams across time zones is the difference between waking up to endless questions on Slack, versus waking up to notifications of completed ClickUp tasks. In order to achieve the latter, it helps to hire people who are naturally aligned to your vision, are emotionally intelligent, and possess excellent communication skills that don’t leave you in the dark.


You, as their leader, are also responsible for nurturing an environment where they can flourish. So here are my 5 non-negotiables on leading remote teams, drawing on my 7 years of experience of managing team members from California to Mumbai.


1. Get clear on your vision


Much like inputting an address into Google Maps before driving to your destination, your team needs to know what direction you’re heading so they can help you steer. In order to do this, you need to be crystal clear on your vision, goals, and message, whatever they may be. Any confusion on this will be reflected back to you by your team members.


A key to successful leadership especially remotely is cultivating a “we” culture, where your team feels a personal sense of ownership in reaching your vision. So as well as being clear on what it is, make sure each member of your team knows the part they play in making that happen, and remind them often of how important they are.


2. Use psychographic questions during interviews


Psychographics are factors that include things like personality, habits, attitudes, behaviors, and interests. Each of these unique psychological factors greatly influences someone’s behavior, which is why psychographics are often used in market research.


Using psychographic questions when hiring a remote team member will help you figure out whether they will be a good fit, as well as learning how they work. Ask situational, open-ended questions during the hiring process that allows them to give you examples of their problem-solving, work ethic, sense of initiative, and emotional intelligence.


A good question to start with is: “Tell me about a time you had no idea how to do something, and how did you end up solving it?”


3. Lead your team according to their individual personalities


There is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership, and it's always important to remember that you are leading teams of individuals. A Type 1 perfectionist may prefer clear instruction, whereas a Type 7 creative thrives on being entrusted to add their own spin on things.


When your team is remote, getting to know more about each person can be more challenging. In the past, I’ve had my team members take the DISC Assessment to get to know their working styles so I knew how best to approach them during difficult or sensitive situations. You can also introduce other types of personality tests such as the Enneagram, Myres-Briggs, or even their love language!


4. Create opportunities for team bonding


It’s especially important for teams to form connections when you don’t physically share space together. In addition to team meetings, schedule fun, non-work-related activities like you would in an office.


Have a Zoom happy hour on a Friday, or organize an online game night. You can also create a team WhatsApp for chatting about things outside of work, or even a Slack channel that’s just for dropping memes to make each other laugh!


5. Learn when to step back


You cannot micromanage everything, especially with a remote team. It’s important to not just delegate tasks, but to give your team ownership of them. Ownership of tasks creates a sense of trust, and it will motivate them to do the best job they can because there is more riding on it.


This also goes for when the team is socializing. You won’t always be on every call or on every Slack channel, and that’s okay. Let the team bond with each other without you always there, as they will be better able to lean on each other for support when needed.


Leading an effective remote team comes down to respect, empathy, and inclusion, resulting in everyone feeling seen, heard, and respected, no matter where they are located. While a lot of this advice can be applied even if your team isn't spread across timezone, in today's increasingly online workforce, I hope it helps you rethink what is possible for your own team.


Follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram, or visit my website for more info! Read more from Mariela!

 

Mariela De La Mora, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Mariela is a Life Coach and certified EQ Leadership Coach who helps women of color become powerhouse leaders of purpose-driven brands. Her mission is to help women of color break glass ceilings by healing the generational trauma and cultural conditioning holding them back from becoming the leader they can be. She was named one of the top 10 leadership coaches by Yahoo Finance and has coached 6 and 7-figure CEOs and even leaders in the United Nations. She previously spent 15 years in marketing while leading teams across the globe. As a 1st generation Mexican American, she was often the only woman of color in senior leadership and had to break past systemic and mindset barriers to do it. She now helps women bridge that gap through trauma-informed life coaching and emotional intelligence development, so they can fully step into their power and lead with intention.

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