Leadership Matters: How to Manage Remotely With Confidence Through COVID-19

female African American business manager video chats with employee team on laptop
Dan Rockwell Photo
Leadership Expert
Leadership Freak blog

2 minutes

Take responsibility to manage your team, even if it’s via video.

This article was originally posted on the Leadership Freak blog and is reprinted with permission. Read the original post here.

Since COVID-19 hit, I’ve been opening public Zoom meetings for anyone to drop in and tell me what’s going on for them. Yesterday, I had several conversations about managing remote teams.

Begin With Trust

Approach new situations trusting that team members will bring their best.

Uncertainty makes you say stupid things. You’re worried about productivity. Maybe you unintentionally threaten people.

During turbulence, err on the side of support. Ask your team questions like:

  • What’s one thing I can do to help you succeed?
  • What’s your biggest concern?


Accountability is as simple as a question.

A leader of remote workers in Reno explained that accountability is as simple as asking, “What’s your plan for today?” (Thanks, Chuck.)

You might say, “I’m going to touch base with you this afternoon. What do you want me to ask you about your work?”

Clarify focus or good people will dilute their impact by trying to do too many things. When you clarify focus, good people:

  • avoid distraction, and
  • pull with greater confidence.

Tip: People feel powerful when they have control. Powerful people get more done.


Connect with each other.

Create virtual connection space. Bill Straub, the CEO of All4 Inc., Kimberton, Pennsylvania, showed me their All4Core site.

Tip: Establish a practice of checking in with team members at the end of the day.

Connect with members.

Stephan Brady, the CEO at the Covation Center, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, said they’re calling all their customers to see how they are doing and to offer help.

Establish Routines

You might love the idea of wearing pajama bottoms all day, but Cesar, a leader of teams at WordPress, said, “It’s good to get up, shower, shave, and put on real pants.”

If you go to the office in pajamas, feel free to wear them in your home office.

I typically observe a lunch hour when I’m working from home.

Food for Thought

Here is some bonus reading material on managing remotely:

What mistakes should be avoided when you manage remote workers?

What practices are most important when managing remote teams?

Based in central Pennsylvania, Dan Rockwell is freakishly interested in leadership. According to the Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness, the Leadership Freak blog is often the most socially shared leadership blog on the internet. An Inc. magazine Top 50 Leadership and Management Expert and Top 100 Great Leadership Speaker and an American Management Association Top 30 Leader in Business of 2014, Rockwell had his first leadership position in the non-profit world at age 19.

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