How to effectively lead your remote teams.

The global Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive changes in the way we work. Leaders and their teams alike have had to rapidly adapt to the realities of working at home: hustling for space and quiet, and dealing with technology issues as well as their fears and vulnerabilities. That’s not to mention the distractions of home – the family, TV, fridge and bed!

Now more than ever, leaders need to be proactive and agile in supporting their people to keep them motivated and engaged. At Credo, where our focus is on developing high performance teams, we’ve created a framework to help you weather this particular storm – and lay the foundation for a strong future post-Covid. Here’s a snapshot.

It’s about building trust

The foundation of working remotely is trust. When your team trusts you and the system, it can work effectively. This equation, originally put forward by The Trusted Advisor, provides clear direction on how to create trust:

The Trust Equation =

Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy

OVER Self-orientation/Interest

By promoting a sense of credibility, reliability and intimacy within your team – while discouraging too much self-interest – you can maintain their trust in you, the team and the virtual working environment.

Let’s break that down:

Credibility – your team must be able to trust that what you are saying is credible, well researched, true and correct. That you’ve researched what you’re saying or the direction the team is going.

Reliability – they feel they can trust you to act on your promises and deliver.

Intimacy – they feel comfortable that they can share things with you and not be judged or punished.

Self-orientation (or interest) – your team needs to be able to trust that you care about them and prioritise the team’s interest over your own. You don’t want them to feel like it’s about satisfying your ego or the bottom line. Similarly, team members must be encouraged to do the same.


In this framework, we focus on meeting three key needs that together create a strong sense of trust in your leadership, the team and each member’s ability to do their job.

Create direction: ‘I have what I need to do my job’

a) Be action-orientated – provide strong leadership, and communicate the goals and vision of the business and the team. Be clear on what winning looks like in a time of crisis. Set the rules of engagement for remote working: revised targets, meeting rhythms, working hours, how to celebrate wins, what platforms are used when and so on.

b) Provide resources – everything your team needs to fulfill their roles.

Create routine and habits: ‘I know what to expect’

  1. Be intentional in planning – people need to wake up every day and know what is expected of them. Implement goal-based planning that sets the routines and habits that facilitate the team’s remote working.
  2. Ensure the rules of engagement are followed – things should always be done according to the guidelines laid out in the first phase. This way the rules of engagement become entrenched as team habits and convictions. You can even appoint an ‘ethics officer’ to keep tabs on the rules and ensure everyone acts respectfully towards for each other.

Create engagement: ‘I feel connected to my work and team’

  1. Ensure leader and team accessibility – how do you access each other and when can you do so? Everyone needs to be on the same page so no-one feels isolated.
  2. Create opportunities for personal and professional development – encourage a growth mindset and give everyone the chance to grow and develop over this time.

You must tick all three boxes for the framework to work. Routine and direction together provide structure and clarity, but without a sense of connectedness or emotional closeness people tend to disengage. Focus and engagement inspire confidence in the leadership and direction of the team – but with no routine there will be confusion and therefore loss of trust. Routine and engagement together ensure that teams feel connected to each other and understand what needs to be done on a daily basis – but there is no sense of a bigger picture or long-term goals, which is demotivating.

Implementing the framework

Apply the model to each of your teams, and reflect on what you’re doing well and what can be improved. Then give the members of your team a similar chance for reflection, and work with them to implement the changes so you’re all on the same page.

PS. At Credo we believe that this framework works even better when you take personality types or social styles into account. Whether a person is analytical, amiable, expressive or a driver makes a big difference to how they contribute to the team.

If you’re looking for a unique, tailored and personal training solution, please contact me directly. I look forward to chatting!