distance leadership tasks

Distance Leadership Fact Sheet #2: Leadership Tasks

Remote Leadership Fact Sheet # 2: Leadership Tasks


The special nature of virtual collaboration results in new tasks for the manager, while other managerial tasks are not new, but must be performed under new conditions. It is about a change in attitude, about the further development of management skills.

This attitude is also referred to as “serving leadership”, which induces and inspires achievements in others – instead of ordering, demanding and controlling. When looking at companies from a resource-oriented perspective, next to natural and economic production factors, human and social resources are just as decisive for the success of the company. Attitude and organizational culture determine whether the change to “distance leadership” can succeed at all. Abandoning this change, on the other hand, will severely limit competitiveness in the long term.

Leadership tasks – motivate

One of the risks of remote work, is a lack of motivation, while employees may feel left behind or isolated. Remote work places new demands on strategic skills. The “new” leadership tasks for motivation include:

  • Set inspiring strategic goals, and thus show a clear direction.
  • Conscientiously use resources and skills, and develop them as necessary.
  • Maintain and increase willingness to perform through a suitable, supportive environment.

Employees are motivated when they feel, that their work is recognized despite virtualisation. Leaders must perceive the employees as experts in their field. A leadership culture based on appreciation makes digital leadership easier. The conservative leadership image, that is, the boss who knows all areas and activities best, is no longer correct anyway. There must be an eye-to-eye agreement between management and employees.

Leadership tasks – delegate

Even in virtual forms of work organisation, the manager remains responsible for the company’s results. By clearly assigning roles, resources and defining competencies, it becomes clear, who employees can contact about their concerns.

Leadership tasks – team development

Leading people is different from managing technical business problems. Leadership means empowering others to work or develop more successfully. This requires important prerequisites. In addition to professional competence and personal commitment, they are

  • a (self-) reflective and proactive attitude,
  • constant development of leading skills,
  • management of emotions and role-related relationships,
  • an authentic leadership concept

Only those who knows himself, can lead others responsibly.

Leadership tasks – goal definition

Losing direct control is a major obstacle for leaders and employees in virtual collaboration, which often triggers uncertainty. Since presence or activity are no longer available as a basis for performance metrics in the virtual team, the definition of goals and success criteria is all the more important.

These goals will continue to be broken down by the management, communicated by the managers and then implemented. More than in other framework conditions, goals serve as a management tool and strengthen motivation.

Evaluate tasks on the basis of

  • importance
  • urgency
  • impact

with regard to your goal achievement.

Use the SMART rule for your goals

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Achievable

R = Realistic

T = Time framed

Even under virtual conditions, these rules serve to formulate the goal of checking whether everyone is still on the right track.

Responsibility for goals must be personalised. Good leadership is done individually, not collectively. Because goals relate to performance on the one hand, but also to people on the other.

Personality structure analysis shows, that most employees want a goal framework. It sets the target and course, and yields mutual security. This is particularly important under conditions of uncertainty, that can easily arise from virtual collaboration.

Today’s leadership is characterized by self-responsibility and organization. Leadership by instruction is outdated for employees from generations X +.

Leadership tasks – control

Formulate all goals in writing. Written goals are the basis for monitoring results, and the trust that is required of employees, when course corrections become necessary at short intervals in times of crisis. The loss of certainty in crisis conditions would otherwise lead to uncertainty, irritation, demotivation and doubt.

Leadership tasks – Trust

Distrust poisons a virtual relationship. Focus upon the employees’ results. If results are not meeting your expectations, find out about the reasons.

Leadership tasks – Represent the team externally

Share information

Leadership includes the interface function with superiors and other organizational units. All information and communication go through the leader. It is therefore important, under conditions of digital leadership, to be a contact person and to pass the information on to the relevant team members in time.

Objective coordination

The manager clarifies the team’s goals with superiors. Usually, the goals are discussed and formulated clearly and measurably (see above).

Resource management

The task of providing resources under conditions of crisis and virtual leadership can be particularly difficult. For successful virtual collaboration, however, it is essential that the team receives the necessary resources to achieve the goals. This requires a budget, the technical infrastructure and employees with the relevant skills, and currently also a lot of improvisation.

Process management

Tasks or processes often have to be coordinated with other units in the organization. Here, too, leaders are the contact person. They provide planning and make sure that the process steps for which the team is responsible fit into the higher-level processes.



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In proven collaboration, the Institute for Leadership Dynamics (ILD) and Psychologie Halensee have developed a joint online program to strengthen resilience and leadership effectiveness in crises: the Remote Leadership & Collaboration program.

The fact sheets are part of the info package for internal employee communication with curated and quality-assured expert content on organization, communication and health under the conditions of remote leadership & collaboration

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