How I made my leadership more impactful when leading remotely
Leading over a distance in today’s reality bears risks and challenges which can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of a leader. Because of the omnipresent high workload, the natural reaction of the human brain driven by ‘out of sight out of mind’ often leads to breakdowns in communication and leaves almost zero informal connection to those who are supposed to be led remotely. When I faced these challenges I had realised that the old principles of leadership which were highly effective when leading people in close proximity have limited or no effect when I was leading over distance.
Where do we come from?
Those who have always been interested in leadership literature may remember Daniel Goleman’s article ‘leadership that gets results’, published in April 2000.
He described a spectrum of leadership styles which, depending on the circumstances, have clear negative and positive links to the effectiveness of a leader when used to people in close proximity.
We are now 18 years down the road from Goleman’s research. The world of leaders in many of organisations has changed significantly since then. Some of the principles, we had learnt in the past have lost their effectiveness in the virtual world. However, there is one of the styles Goleman listed in his article which has still really great impact when applied: It is the visionary leadership. He described it as the ability to take charge and inspire others with a compelling vision. For Goleman the visionary leader states the end he has in mind in a vividly painted vision in form of a mental picture. At the same time he gives people plenty of leeway to devise their own means. This style has the highest impact in terms of inspiration and motivation. One shortcoming is though: it works best with people of high maturity and self sufficiency.
If you are are asking yourself, how you can develop a visionary style to increase your effectiveness when leading in a virtual organization, read on:
What I found effective when leading a team over a distance
Let me list some key ingredients which worked extremely well for me in developing my visionary leadership style:
- I am clear and truly passionate about my area of responsibility and what I want to achieve
- I need to be able to let go of any details
- I do some day dreaming about my ideal results of my part of the organisation and paint a mental picture to form a solid vision
- I connect my dream/vision with my emotions and passion when sharing my vision I speak in the language my people sppeak (jargon is the absolute killer)
- I connect my vision to the emotions of my people, to their heart and their ambitions and
- I keep talking about my vision.
All of these points are a good start to develop the ability to leading remotely with a compelling vision. They definitely worked for me.
You can also learn more about visionary leadership in a video-cast we have prepared for our leadership development modules. Today we give you the opportunity to get free access to this video-cast. Just follow the link below to get the access-code to our campus and this module with the video and more details about it.