How To Create An Inclusive & Engaging Culture For Remote Teams Working From Home

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How To Create An Inclusive & Engaging Culture For Remote Teams Working From Home

If you're working from home and managing remote employees, it can be tricky to bring the team together. 

How can managers change their conversations from "me" to "we" to build more effective teams?

Managers must step outside of themselves to understand and reflect upon the benefits of their teams.

There must be boundaries — including communication, empathy, and respect — to allow the "me" to "we" shift. These areas will jumpstart the conversation and mindset shift.

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Fortunately, it's not hard to learn how to manage a team working remotely. 

By using these 4 boundaries, here is how you can create an inclusive and engaging culture for remote teams who are working from home.

1. Communication.

Communication is what you say, how you say it, and to who you say it to. Think about what your communication style is when talking with your team.

Is there an imbalance? Is it the same people sharing ideas or more self-preservation and hoarding of information? 

There are several communication styles that a team leader should recognize:

  • Passive styles: They act with indifference and are often yielding to others, which should be discouraged.
  • Aggressive styles: They usually express themselves with a demanding voice, intense eye contact, criticizing, or blaming others.
  • Passive-aggressive styles: They appear to be passive on the surface, but are maybe seething or acting out in a subtle way.
  • Assertive styles: They are not necessarily overbearing, but rather aim for win-win resolutions. This communication style can be self-expressive and considers the needs of others.

Once you recognize your team’s communication style dynamics, you will discover opportunities to better regulate and facilitate conversations in which every voice is heard.

2. Empathy.

Having empathy for others on your team enables you to become a more inclusive leader. 

Empathy gives the leader permission to be curious, discourages assumptions and judgments, and demonstrates a genuine concern for the team's well-being. 

This creates an environment in which conversations become open, honest, and real. 

When labeling others decreases in frequency, support, better understanding, and the capacity to help one another increases. One-way lectures become two-way conversations.

These dialogues encourage innovation, creativity, and risk-taking.

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3. Respect for people.

Respect is earned over time. Managers gain it by demonstrating appropriate behavior and leadership. 

The manager must show that they value all constructive opinions and ideas.

This provides space to become an active listener and be more open to challenges that the team brings to the table.

It is an opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another.

4. Finding common ground.

Overly emphasizing the differences between team members decreases collaboration and productivity. It creates an environment of "us versus them" mentality toward managers, causing separation and divisiveness.

Finding common ground encourages empathy. Keep in mind that empathy is not merely sympathy. It engenders curiosity and understanding to step into another's shoes.

Become an ally or advocate for an individual. Build trust. Create transparency. Hold people accountable.

All of these behaviors will increase productivity, efficiency, and overall effectiveness.

There are benefits in shifting from "me" to "we." As you move from "me" to "we," you become an inclusive leader who is more people-oriented. 

You do more listening than talking. You become more transparent. Your team becomes more empowered to take risks and voice their opinions. 

They will build deeper connections and trust with one another and you. They will be more willing to stick with you, jump over or knock down hurdles, and embrace change.

Challenge yourself to reflect on what you will start doing, cease doing, and do differently to move your team from "me" to "we."

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Simone Sloan is the founder of Your Choice Coach, which applies expertise in business strategy, executive coaching, and emotional intelligence to help organizations align activities with strategy and become more human to realize results. To learn how emotional intelligence can help your teams, leadership style, or business, contact Simone.

This article was originally published at Forbes. Reprinted with permission from the author.