Ethical Considerations for Leading Dispersed Teams

While technical skills are fundamental for any engineering team, leadership attributes go beyond technical know-how. In this blog post, we will discuss effective management of a distributed engineering team dealing with a crisis, specifically paying attention to the human aspect of the group as they operate in a fully remote mode amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Building an environment of trust and accountability is paramount for a leader to ensure the team’s triumph.

  1. Creating a sense of security among the team members in these tumultuous times is crucial. With unprecedented pressure on employees’ health, careers, and families, acknowledging and showing appreciation for their efforts and resilience is vital. Without feeling secure, team members cannot focus on their work optimally.
  2. Open the door with a warm welcome to make the person feel comfortable. Nowadays, video conferencing is becoming more prevalent, and it is common to witness disruptions from children during meetings, which is generally acceptable. Nevertheless, it is crucial to ask how the individual is doing and acknowledge the difficulty in balancing work and family life.
  3. Recognizing and appreciating employees’ contributions is a powerful motivator. Research has shown that 82% of employed Americans would enhance their productivity if they sense that their efforts are valued. The significance of acknowledgment becomes even more crucial when employees are working remotely. Regular positive feedback can elevate team spirit, inspiring employees to strive for excellence.
  4. Instead of focusing solely on tasks that can be accomplished within specific timeframes, it is vital to establish measurable outcomes. Employment should not be a way to simply fill one’s time but rather an opportunity to create something of value. Clear, quantifiable objectives should be set, and regular online meetings and evaluations should be conducted to ensure that the objectives are being achieved. During video conversations, it is recommended that everyone stands up and introduces themselves, especially if there may be potential distractions such as children or pets in the room. This will not only help foster a sense of camaraderie among team members but also enable them to share their sentiments with one another more effectively.
  5. Several factors such as the current situation and personal challenges may result in reduced performance outside of work. Acknowledging possible causes and discussing how to tackle them is essential. For instance, the lack of a stable Internet connection at home is a significant hindrance to productivity. To address this issue, upgrading connections or purchasing data packages could be beneficial.
  6. Collecting and analyzing performance metrics is crucial for identifying any potential issues. Rather than only relying on self-perception, it is important to focus on enhancing the quality of output by discussing and implementing solutions.
  7. Consistent communication is crucial in avoiding misunderstandings. To ensure that everyone is informed, it is recommended to use group chat applications such as Slack for inquiries and support. Holding meetings at least once or twice a day to discuss progress and potential areas of improvement is also advised.

Considering the current situation, all-remote teams must be deliberate and consistent in implementing best practices for communication, recognition, goal setting, and accountability. While these practices and concepts may not be unique to remote work, their implementation requires teams to adapt and develop new ways due to the lack of physical proximity. However, with the appropriate guidance and adherence to these principles, remote teams can remain productive and successful.

For further information and advice on building and managing remote engineering teams, please refer to The Top 3 Ways to Manage a Remote Engineering Team.

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