Derick is a seasoned manager. Jane has been a star performer in Derick’s distributed team and has been known to receive high CSAT scores. Recently, Derick has started receiving some escalations from customers about Jane, much to his surprise. Derick wonders – how could this happen? He feels puzzled and wants to start tracking the events to diagnose this.
On diagnosis, it appears that Derick faced some of these challenges:
- Since you don’t know about it, it isn’t happening: Nobody had come forward to report anything wrong in the weekly catch ups and hence Derick thought, “All is going well with my team. Else I would know it.”
He faced a centrality fallacy: When in a central position, you presume that if something serious were happening, you would know about it. And since you don’t know about it, it isn’t happening! Inability to do regular temperature-checks causes this. As the leader of a team that includes multiple remote workers, it’s harder to sense frustration on the part of remote teams.
- Worrying about Slackers vs. Top Performers: There’s often a risk of your top performers over-working or pulling more weight – and hence getting burnt out. Managers are solely focusing on improving the productivity of slackers and in that process may be overlooking the top performers (i.e. Jane).
- Tracking Trust vs. Tracking Time-in-Seat: As a remote manager, it’s important to discuss non-negotiables on both sides, and discuss how your team should be managed by YOU. And most importantly, asking your people not to break trust. There’s a heavy price for breaking trust. Derick could have clarified this expectation upfront!
- In the Moment Check-ins: The performance conversation frequency has been changing from annual to quarterly to the millennial world frequency of monthly check-ins. But this remote working needs an in-the-moment conversation – feedback or appreciation. It’s much worse to not hear from your manager in this remote world! No news is NOT good news in this case!
We cover a lot of these aspects in our Manage(r) from Home Program.
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