Working in a remote environment can be great but it can also have its challenges, especially if it is a new experience for your team. Communication is one of the biggest hurdles for a team to work effectively during these challenging times.
Common issues that might need to be addressed include:
- How will we communicate questions about the project/task/challenges we are facing?
- How will we alert others if we can’t complete a task or there is a delay?
- How will we communicate if there’s a crisis?
- What will be held confidential on our team?
- Is it OK to show excitement about something we’ve just accomplished?
- How will we demonstrate our commitment to our team?
- How will we hold each other accountable?
- How will we offer feedback to each other?
Here we take a look at how Be Challenged’s Remote DiSC Workplace Profile can help you and your team overcome these challenges effectively when you can’t all be in the same place.
Understanding your remote team’s DiSC styles and their various preferences, stressors and motivators will make it easier to discuss some of these issues.
For example, it makes it easier for the team to understand that when Lucas gives a one-word reply that’s just his style, but when Norm does it, it might mean he’s upset, feeling rushed or pressured.
It can make it easier to understand that Mark isn’t dragging his feet on purpose, he’s probably focussing on the accuracy of his work and is double checking it before sharing.
Carly and Vanessa aren’t just wasting time sharing funny photos or videos, but are trying hard to bridge the gap of time spent apart and maintain important social connections with the team.
Some of the conversations about remote working might feel awkward and forced at first, and that’s OK. It might seem like you’re wasting time going over assumptions about how and when to communicate.
It might feel rude to ask someone publicly why a task hasn’t been completed. It might seem unnatural to say that you were hurt by a blunt response to your email. You might feel vulnerable saying you won’t return phone calls or texts during the time you set aside for a specific task.
The team though will benefit greatly from having this clarity. DiSC becomes your shared language and is non threatening, non judgemental and safe for everyone to use.
Remote teams don’t have the added information about someone that comes from being in the same room, so communication needs to be even more precise. We need to be better about asking for clarification, assuming the best intentions of others, and verifying our assumptions.
If we are both in the office, I can tell when you’re not feeling well or are stressed and that I should perhaps wait for another time to collaborate with you. If I’m working remotely, I have to rely on you to tell me that this is not a good time and that you don’t want to be interrupted.
Going further with DiSC:
“D” style will be the idea person to drive a project or challenge a team to stay on track to produce results.
“I” style can help overcome problems with their energy and creative ideas and make sure everyone has fun in the process.
“S” style will make sure the idea is made into something concrete and useable, and will see the project is finished to completion.
C style will make sure everything is done correctly and well thought-out from start to end.
Obviously these are basic examples but the more you know about your DiSC style and preferences and those of the team the easier it is to get the most out of the remote team.
The good news is that DISC Comparison reports make this easy. It shows you the motivators for those you are working with, identifies clearly where you are closely aligned AND where you are further apart and provides tips for you to work together more effectively.
Top Tips for remote teams to unlock the power of DiSC:
When working on a remote, virtual team it is important to have clear, transparent communication with your team.
- Go through the exercise of having each team member tell you what their key communication characteristics and needs are. Be Challenged can provide each member of your team with their own DiSC Workplace profile.
- Have a discussion about what communication style each team member is most comfortable with. This does not mean you can only communicate with them in that way, but it helps the rest of the team understand where that person is coming from.
- When conflict arises between team members on a remote or virtual team, think about your communication characteristic compared to theirs to understand how your differing styles
Norm has been a senior facilitator in corporate Australia for over 15 years. In that time he has facilitated 100s of highly successful and professional team development programs with a diverse range of clients across the private and public sector.
A strong believer in experiential education, Norm works hard to ensure every client achieves their team objectives and that participants take away worthwhile learnings on the power of effective teamwork, all while having a great time together.