Management Styles & Remote Work

January 25, 2021

Management styles & remote work

For most companies, the recent shift to a fully remote working environment has led to some challenges, perhaps most notably when it comes to managing teams. Problems such as lack of trust, excessive monitoring or unrealistic expectations can arise, which will damage the relationship between employees and their managers and even among co-workers.

In order to prevent this happening and to provide as safe a working environment as possible, I wanted to introduce and discuss three leadership styles which could potentially aid in this situation:

  1. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a leadership style in which leaders encourage, inspire and motivate employees to innovate and create change that will help grow and shape the future success of the company. This is accomplished by setting an example at the executive level through a strong sense of corporate culture, employee ownership and independence in the workplace.

Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their workforce without micromanaging – they trust trained employees to take authority over decisions in their assigned jobs. It’s a management style designed to give employees more room to be creative, to think outside the box and share their ideas with everyone in the virtual team.

Examples of transformational leaders: Emmanuel Faber, CEO at Danone and Heinrich Hiesinger, former CEO at ThyssenKrupp.

  1. Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership focuses on results, conforms to an organization’s existing structure and measures success according to that organization’s system of rewards and penalties. Transactional leaders have formal authority and positions of responsibility in an organization.

This type of leader sets the criteria for their workers according to previously defined requirements. Performance reviews are the most common way to judge employee performance. Transactional leaders work best with employees who know their jobs and are motivated by the reward-penalty system.

This leadership style works for virtual teams because it gets the job done. A transactional leader clearly defines their expectations from each team member. Regular follow-ups and progress reports are required to make sure that everyone is on the right track.

Examples of transactional leaders: Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft Corporation and Howard Schultz, former CEO at Starbucks Coffee Company.

  1. Situational Leadership

The situational theory of leadership suggests that no single leadership style is best. Instead, it depends on which type of leadership and strategies are best-suited to the task. According to this theory, the most effective leaders are those who can adapt their style to the situation and look at factors such as the type of task and the group’s nature that might contribute to getting the job done.

This type of leadership demands a high level of adaptability and flexibility. For those who adopt this approach, it is essential to have the ability to analyse the situation at hand, so that they can immediately apply the right approach in handling their virtual team.

An example of a situational leader, Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War II; examples of companies who have included this leadership style in training are Hilti Corporation and GoDaddy.

To conclude, there is not a one-size-fits-all way of managing. Every employee is unique and will be motivated differently. Some will prefer less frequent check-ins, while others will feel more guided and connected with regular catch-ups. The key is to adapt and to understand what your employees need.

Do you think these leadership styles are effective and could be adopted in your company? I’m curious to hear your opinion!