I just stumbled on the podcasts in my attempt to find tips on how to try and be a better team leader working in a highly distributed and virtual team (I lead ~18 people + various supporting roles in 10 different locations) on a highly technical software product.

Wondering how to make it all fit :)

mfculbert's picture

Hello fello manager,

I have been managing 10-15 people across the state of Washington. I have never had more than four of those employees close enough to see weekly. I use all the MT trinity tools. Phone one-on-ones are very effective. Start them NOW! 

Kevin1's picture

Hello Fellow Manager.

I manage a team of 34 software support folks in 6 cities in 5 different countries.  Although it has now grown to the point where we have an extra layer, I used to have 1 on 1 meetings with each of them.  Now I just have them with the manager subset.  I believe strongly that setting clear goals and expectations are crucial and that regular check ins on progress are required.  Being there for them in order to offer assistance and remove barriers so that they can meet their goals (aligned to the organisation of course) is the coaching piece. You also have to be very good at identifying opportunities for feedback.  Unless you are identifying and giving lots of positive feedback, they are unlikely to listen to the remote manager who only appears to give negative feedback.

Be aware that they will have different levels of expertise at different tasks.  For some they are beginner, for other expert.  Ask questions and listen to their responses.  Adjust the level of assistance you give in accordance with their need on that task.  Giving them independence and empowerment on tasks where they already have confidence is great for their development and reduces your workload.

Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Keeps notes.