6 Ways to Motivate Your Team Remotely

So you have an amazing team supporting you – congratulations! 

(Imagine me toasting you with a frequently refilled coffee cup here.)

You put in the time to find the perfect folks for marketing/finance/admin/customer service, etc, you’ve made a pact that will keep your relationship humming along, and you’re ready to hunker down – on your respective sides of the country (or even the globe) – and do the work.

But how can you keep your team excited, engaged, and working hard when you’re just a name in their inbox? How do you motivate your team when you’re working in different time zones?

I’m so glad you asked! I’ve spent the last 10 years helping companies build teams, many of them spread over time zones and country lines. And I’m leading my own team across the country and working on keeping everyone motivated. Based on what I’ve learned, here are six ways you can keep your team motivated and encouraged – even if you’re thousands of miles away.

1. Schedule regular video calls and occasional face to face meetings
There’s something about making eye contact (even if it’s through a video camera) that connects people. When you’re talking face to face, motivation is contagious. Your smile, your eyes, your tone of voice show your team that you’re excited about the work you’re doing and you’re glad they’re along for the ride.

And aside from putting in the face time, regular meetings help everyone stay on track and stay motivated – particularly important when you’re working on slow-moving, long-term projects.

Even more effective than regular Skype or Google hangouts? In-person meetings. Arrange to meet up in real life at least once a year; it’s a great way to get to know your team better and show them how invested you are. I like to take my team out to lunch or drinks once a quarter for a more informal setting to get to know “how’s it going for you?”

2. Give them honest feedback on what’s working and what’s not
Your team wants to excel, they want to know what’s working and what could be better. Constant, universally positive feedback actually does little to motivate a team. They’ll respect you more and work harder if you tell them “I can see that these tweets you wrote did really well. Great job on that! Now, I’d like you to examine them and think about how we can create more social media successes like these since our Facebook page isn’t having as much success.”

3. Praise them in public
Use social media to sing your team’s praises. Promoting your team is a win/win – it shows them how much you appreciate them and your followers see that you’re a supportive boss. They’ll be thrilled to check their Twitter notifications and find “I couldn’t imagine my team without @awesomeVA and @great_designer. They’re irreplaceable!”

4. Create a real, concrete development plan for them
Once we’ve found our dream team, we often dive headlong into work. Let’s use those social media skills! Write that copy! Launch that program! But long-term motivation comes from loyal, committed team members – and we create loyal, committed team members by investing.

I’ve been using this method to develop great working relationships and engaging development plans for years. It helps me unearth my employees’ professional goals, their weak spots, their annoyances, and their biggest dreams. Once I know these things, I can make sure I’m giving them duties that work to their strengths and sending them to conferences where they can build their skills.

5. Share your wins
If your designer spent six months laboring over that presentation, she’ll want to know that you landed The Dream Client. If your ghostwriter’s post went viral, let her know! Your team will be motivated to give you their best work when they see how it’s used in a broader context.

6. Send them gifts (and not just gift cards)
This isn’t required but it’s certainly appreciated! A small, thoughtful gift goes a long way to building loyalty and motivation. What about an early, hardcover edition of their favorite book, something that will help them conquer that new hobby, or just some delicious treats from your home state and a spontaneous “Thanks for all you do!” card?

With just a few tweaks you can create a more supportive, more productive team – whether you’re across town or across the globe.

Over to you! Do you work remotely? How do you keep your team motivated? Share your best tips in the comments!

Susan Drumm

Susan Drumm spent over a decade teaching companies like L’Oreal, Viacom and Condé Nast how to lead their teams towards multi-million dollar growth. Now she uses those same leadership skills to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses to seven-figure success. Your success as an entrepreneur depends on your ability to hire, inspire and lead team. Follow @DrummLeadership on Twitter and get Susan’s free ebook on hiring your dream VA here.

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

7 Ways To Build Great Relationships With Your Team

The challenges facing new leaders in a business situation are many and varied. ...

15 Leadership Quotes to Help You be a Leader, Not a Manager

Sometimes you need a reminder and some inspiration to be a leader, not ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

Leaderly Quote: The tasks you let go of…
Leaderly Quote: The tasks you let go of…

“Shoulds” are tasks or obligations we take on, accompanied by an inner monologue that goes,

How to Write a Simple and Beautiful Manifesto
How to Write a Simple and Beautiful Manifesto

Traditionally, a manifesto is a written statement where you publicly declare your… – Intentions (what

Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about doing more
Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about doing more

You probably already had a to-do list longer than a CVS receipt before this global

What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?
What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?

Leadership is not about doing more. It’s about switching from doing to leading. From this

100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?
100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?

There’s an entire industry of books and seminars founded on the assumption that if you

20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020
20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020

20 of our favorite leadership quotes by women At Be Leaderly, we’re on a mission

Happy Holidays 2019
Happy Holidays 2019

May your Holidays sparkle with moments of love, laughter, and goodwill, and may the year

5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading
5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading

To become a leader, there is a series of key shifts in mindset and behavior

You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths
You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…
Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Copyright 2022, Be Leaderly