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Geographically Diverse Teams

5 Things Leaders Need To Consider 

The events of 2020/2021 have led to different working models. There are three different models here - the work from home model, the work from the office model, and the hybrid model. All have their advantages, disadvantages, challenges, and opportunities. If you find yourself working under a hybrid model, you may find yourself working where some of your co-workers are in the office and some are working from home. 

If not led properly, this can lead to strain on relationship building, productivity, and workplace morale. 

This doesn’t only happen in the work-from-home/in-office hybrid model. If you’re in the Midwest, but you have team members in the North, and South, and/or on both coasts, you could be feeling strain as well. 


Here are 5 things leaders need to consider when working with geographically diverse teams. 

Set Expectations

Holding someone else accountable to expectations that have not been set is tyrannical. Before you can praise or reprimand behaviors, set expectations about things like… 

  • Job duties
  • Communication practices
  • The challenges of having remote team members

Think about where these expectations are posted or published. Are they easy to find and review? How clear is the language? Is it easy to understand? How often do you review them together? Do you only review them at yearly performance reviews or do you review them quarterly or even monthly? 

Take a task to schedule time to connect with employees to ensure you’re on the same page with expectations. 


Provide Coaching or Training on Something New

When some are remote and others aren’t, you’ll need to manage training differently. It’s still important to get folks to hear the same message at the same time. Thankfully virtual trainings are on the rise!

You’ll still need to consider, have all learning styles been addressed? Where are the training documents or guides published? How often is the written or published training updated? 

Make a list of the training you need to complete with your current employees. Determine how remote locations play a role in that. Make sure the training documentation is available to all employees. 


Provide Reminders or Coaching on Something Familiar

The folks you don’t see everyday may miss out on the valuable hallway conversations, so as a leader you’ll have to combat the “out of sight = out of mind” principle.

Think about how in-office folks receive in-the-moment coaching. How do remote folks receive in-the-moment coaching? What is the expected outcome of the coaching?

Make a note of the types of hallway conversations you have with folks nearby. One way you can remind yourself to coach the remote folks on the same conversations is to create and use a reusable phrase. 


Praise a Group Effort or Result

Remember that group effort includes local and remote folks. Celebrations need to appropriately account for everyone, those in the field as well as those at home, and dropping by for donuts is harder when you’re remote. 

Think about who was involved. What is the expected outcome of the praise? What level of reward is appropriate? How will the praise or recognition be shared.

Make a list of the types of “celebrations” or group recognitions you’ve done in the last 12 months. How have you included remote participants? What feedback have they given you? Use that feedback to adjust your future celebrations to include remote participants. 


Praise an individual effort or result

Appreciation needs to be tailored to each employee, regardless of where they live and work. Mailing or delivering takes more time (and often more cost), the further away they are. Here are some ideas for virtual appreciation.

Think about the expected outcome of the praise. What does that individual value? What level of reward is appropriate? How will the praise or recognition be shared?

Make a note of the things you’ve done to recognize or appreciate your individual team members. How did they respond? What has been different for the local and remote employees? Make a calendar entry that allows you to plan ahead to mail/ship/deliver tokens or recognition when appropriate. 

What about you? What do you do to lead geographically diverse teams? Share below or on social media! 

Learn 5 more ways to lead regardless of geography with our on-demand training How to Lead Regardless of Geography starting at only $15.



Topics: YP, Sinikka Waugh, Leadership & Influence

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Click here to view How to Lead Regardless of Geography


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