- Karthik Kamalakannan
I invested hundreds of hours last year learning from great leaders about resilience, how leaders handled their teams, and how they gained their trust to achieve a larger than life vision. While all these learnings paid off well, one thing changed entirely last year - going remote; Building trust and relationships between two people (most of the time) almost always happened when they shared a physical space to discuss and share their thoughts about a common topic. This space, in spiritual terms, had some energy being shared. These interactions in the physical world moved people and gave them the hope many waits to hear.
But today, we’ve evolved (maybe?). Most of the companies moved to become Zoom-first interaction companies to avoid physical contact. While this worked out great for companies who already have successful products and services, this never really worked out for smaller teams where almost everyone is new. Let me tell you why.
Which teams struggle during remote work
Almost always, companies who focused on the fancy trends in the industry failed. This is one of the primary reasons I believe 99 out of 100 companies fail in the first year. They tend to think that the fancy stuff that other companies are doing will work for them. Unfortunately, no one has lived the life you have lived, and no one ever will. The same applies to these companies as well.
Being remote in a brand new company is hard. The smaller your team size is with the immense potential to grow, it could be even more challenging. As a Product Manager, managing your team, product, and customers could drive you mad. But you are not alone.
I believe these three points would help you foster a better relationship with your remote team in the most stable way over a sustained period.
There are two ways in which you can simplify things:
- Clear written communication - document everything the way your team can understand; provide them a central place where they can quickly go and refer to any document they’d like;
- Automate workflows with tools - use tools like Hellonext to automate your customer feedback cycle; this reduces hours worth of effort every day for you and your team;
Single Point of contact
Be the person people can come to share and discuss issues. Try to understand people’s goals and obstacles that prevent them from being the best version of themselves at work. Everyone in the team needs a person to talk to about product development, challenges, and potential pitch solutions. There is no better person than a Product Manager in the section for that. Be that person for them.
Being reliable is quite simple but needs to be consistent. When you let people know that you’re picking something up to finish, make it happen. That’s all people expect from a Product Manager;
When these happen naturally, things get rolling the way you want them to, and that’s when growth happens in your career and your company as well. Above all these, keep things real. Realizing and acknowledging some items are not as perfect as it should be is your strength, not weakness.Embrace that. This will help you see through things with clarity and reality to solve to push things forward with a clear mind.
Finally, building trust over a remote connection is problematic. Hard for smaller teams who are just getting started. But you are not alone in this. For the first time in our generation, the world is facing one relatable problem.