Remote Teams Need One-On-Ones But Be Careful

Every good manager knows that the secret to maintaining a close working relationship with their individual team members is to spend time with them “one-on-one”. But what if we are spending so much time focused on individual communication that we inadvertently create a problem for the team as a whole?

Our work with clients around the world shows an unusual pattern of team behavior. When participants rate their managers highly on their working relationships with each other as individuals, you often see a corresponding drop in the team’s trust and ability to work with each other independent of the manager. What’s up?

Here are some of the reasons that diligently focusing on individual team members can cause unforeseen problems with your team dynamics:

Team members become reliant on the manager for information and resources. One of the ways we build trust with teammates is to see how helpful and smart they are when you need assistance. Frequently, though, it’s easier to ask your manager for assistance since you’re speaking to them anyway. While this makes sense, over time it may create a situation where going to the manager is the default for any need, rather than reaching out to teammates. As a manager, don’t forget to encourage and even delegate tasks to other team members as a way of building those ties.

For more ways you might be messing things up, check out the article on Management Issues.

To learn what you can do about it, check out How to Create and Manage Remote Teams