Effective Remote Employee and Team Leadership: Be an Adaptive Leader vs. a Mechanical One
Let’s start this discussion of mechanical leadership (activity focused) vs. adaptive leadership (outcome focused) by giving ourselves permission to accept that not all leaders can be both; that is, not all mechanical leaders can become adaptive, or vice versa. And that’s not a problem! If a diverse management team and their groups are aligned to produce the outcomes as defined by stakeholders and upper management, all is well. Ultimately, however, adaptive leaders make better remote team member managers.
Mechanical leaders focus on the overall activities of the business, such as:
- Unit production
- Personnel performance
- Regulations, and
This is all work that needs to be done in many organizations, and leaders who are very good at the mechanics of business are invaluable in many areas of management. Remote team members in the gig economy, however, are generally less engaged in supporting the continuities of mechanical operations. In fact, they are more in demand to improve the actual and perceived value of your company’s products or services.
Adaptive leaders focus on outcomes that have added value, such as:
- Capability, and
- Return on investment (ROI).
Less about directing the underpinnings of an organization, the adaptive leader is free to inspire and ensure productivity in the remote-worker gig economy. As an adaptive leader with the ability to communicate the mission to your virtual employees, foster a culture that supports virtual teams, and facilitate their value-added practices will better tap the resources and deliverables of remote team members.
I’ve worked from everywhere as a full-time traveler. After decades in business development for hundreds of clients, working remotely for them and hiring remote team members (always 80% distributed), I have a new mission: put the world’s untapped mobile demographic of over 400 million people to work remotely, and recover the global economy post-2020-pandemic with a sustainable and crisis-proof remote-work model.