Things are finally starting to feel like they’re back to normal for many of us with offices and workplaces reopening. However, many leaders are still finding themselves practising their remote leadership skills with colleagues, team members or other collaborators.

With hybrid and remote work growing more prominent, it is crucial to continuously adapt and refine your remote leadership skills. Therefore, we spoke with the THNK faculty to reexplore how leaders can practice effective remote leadership.




1. Presence doesn't just mean physical presence.

Suppose you are a leader who has returned to an in-person workspace. In that case, you’re probably relearning to appreciate the small unplanned interactions that occur naturally throughout the day, like a quick chat as you walk through the door, a 5-minute check-in or enjoying a nice lunch with your friends and colleagues. These small interactions help keep you present within your team’s thoughts and your team present in yours.

Presence is an essential remote leadership skill, and thankfully there are ways to remain present and engaged with your team remotely:

  • Keep your video on! And encourage (but don’t require) your team to keep their video feeds on. It’s much easier to feel connected to a face than a disembodied voice.
  • Replace those unscheduled office check-ins with a phone call. It will give both of you a breather to stop and interact one-on-one, not to mention you can probably get more done with a 5-minute phone call instead of spending 20-minutes crafting the perfect email.
  • Set time aside to be available. This can involve a virtual “open-door policy” or having weekly remote lunches or celebrations to leave time for any personal or work-related discussions. Remaining available for personal interactions is still vital in a remote environment.

2. Be the virtual bridge.

As a leader, you act as the bridge between your team and the rest of the organisation. While always important, this remote leadership skill becomes even more vital in a virtual setting where the connection between one’s work and their impact on the wider picture becomes less clear.

Firstly, make sure you keep your team updated on any ongoing projects, events or even your organisation’s stance on current events. Make sure these updates occur regularly and that you deliver them to your team directly during a meeting or call.

As part of these updates, try to reinforce where and how your team’s and each individual’s work contributes toward these broader organisational goals. And, of course, be sure to provide positive feedback for a job well done.

3. Create more engaging online meetings.

We’re all familiar with the challenge of managing and hosting virtual meetings of all sizes and types, but remote leadership skill lies with keeping these meetings exciting, efficient and engaging.

Here are a few minor changes you can make that keep your virtual meetings on topic while fostering and reinforcing connections:

  • Make sure there’s time for check-in at the start. How in-depth you go, a quick hello or board open-ended questions is up to how long the meeting is and who’s involved, but be sure to always connect on a personal level before diving into work. 
  •  Ask your team to formally prepare what they’re planning to discuss and present ahead of time. This will save everyone time and also results in quicker, smoother meetings.
  • Moderate, don’t dictate. Your role in meetings should keep the discussion moving and on topic, not dictating the entire call. At THNK, we use the 20/80 rule where you should only be speaking 20% of the time at most while the rest of the team uses the other 80%.

Focusing on the "Leadership" in Remote Leadership

It can be easy to fall into the trap of viewing how we lead in-person as separate from how we lead virtually. However, good remote leadership skills are still built on the same foundational concepts.

The best way to be an effective remote or hybrid leader is to focus on what already makes you a good leader and finding creative ways to convey those same ideas through a computer screen.

THNK’s leadership courses can help you develop and refine your foundational leadership skills whether you lead in-person, hybrid, or remotely.

Improve Your Leadership, Improve Your Remote Leadership

If you are struggling with your remote leadership skills one of the best things you can do is focus on improving your fundamental leadership skills. At THNK, we help you become the best leader you can be by facilitating your own leadership journey where you will look inward to develop your own unique leadership style.

We have leadership programs for three career levels.