North American Association of Sales Engineers

North American Association of Sales Engineers

European Association of Sales Engineers

Two Solutions To Help You Lead Your Remote Teams More Effectively

By Skot Waldron

Internal Brand and Communication Expert

Leading a Team of Champions

COVID has changed the way we work now and in the future. While working remotely has advantages, it also has challenges. Here are just a few:

  1. Learning to manage your time
  2. Trying to figure out how to communicate with different people in a new environment

Trial: Learning To Manage Your Time

Tool: 5 Gears

The same distractions that interrupt office productivity also penetrate remote work environments. There can be spouses, kids, pets, laundry, and yard work to manage. So, how can you be simultaneously present and productive? By learning to set boundaries using common language and simple tools like the 5 Gears.

5th Gear – Task-centered, fully focused and moving quickly

You need this gear to focus and get things done. Alerts and notifications are disabled, the door is closed, the calendar is blocked off, and maybe headphones are on playing your favorite Mariah Carey hit (if that’s your thing).

4th Gear – Multi-tasking; working hard in various ways

We tend to spend a lot of time in this gear. The door is cracked, with multiple things going on, or an occasional interruption from a kid showing you their favorite Lego creation.

3rd Gear – Present with people and can shift up or down easily

We call this gear “water cooler talk” or “small talk.” Talking about the weather or last weekend might happen when you begin a Zoom call. 

2nd Gear – Present with family or friends without work

This is the gear that we all need to pay attention to. How many of you are guilty of checking your email or work messages while watching a show in the evening with your family? That’s what I thought. Second Gear is when we are fully present with our family or friends. Sitting down and talking over dinner, or having a bigger conversation via Zoom with a work colleague. 

1st Gear – Personal recharge, completely unplug

You need time to recharge. Read a book, ride your bike, watch Netflix, or go and talk to your neighbor. Do what gives you energy but rests your mind. 

A few tips:

  • Teach your team about 5th Gear and start blocking out time on your calendars. Respect each other’s boundaries.
  • Teach your family about 2nd Gear so they can help keep you accountable the next time you reach for your phone while watching Hamilton for the 23rd time.
  • Know which gears you should be in and when.

Challenge: Trying to figure out how to communicate with different people in a new environment

Solution: 5 Voices

News Flash! Not everyone thinks or wants to be led like you. I know, surprising, right?

People want to feel valued, heard, and understood in every environment. So, how do you know which team members want to be led in which way? First, seek to understand yourself, then seek to understand others. The way you communicate will lead to building or destroying your workplace culture (aka Employer Brand). 

Your team is made up of diverse types of people that all communicate in different ways. Let’s walk through the 5 Voices and see if you can identify yourself and those on your team.

Nurturers (43% of the population)

Champions of people, relational harmony, and values. Quiet voices who undervalue their contributions to the team. You need to draw them into conversations.

Creatives (9% of the population)

Champions of future ideas, innovation, and organizational integrity. With a lot going on upstairs, they may struggle to communicate their ideas effectively. 

Guardians (30% of the population)

Champions of due diligence, resources, and efficient systems and processes. Guardians can be right in what they say, but wrong in how they say it. They may also struggle to see the value in social networking and conversation that seems to “waste time.”

Connectors (11% of the population)

Champions of relational networks, collaboration, and effective communication. Connectors can be very inspirational and will always push us to be better, but they can critique or take criticism personally.

Pioneers (7% of the population)

Champions of strategic vision, results, and problem-solving. Pioneers are driven to win the war, not the battle. They are very competent but can be dismissive (to put it lightly) of those they see incompetent or that jeopardize the chance of success.

As you can tell, each one of these voices will need to be led differently. We stick to the platinum rule. The Golden Rule says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Platinum Rule states, “Do unto others as they would want to be done to them.” Lead them how they need to be led, not how you think they need to be led.

Want to find out your Voice? Take the free 5 Voices Assessment at

Remote working isn’t new. But it has become a new normal for almost everyone.

Embrace it. 

Find ways to thrive. 

Be intentional about building yourself as well as those around you. Your human capital is one of the most valuable intangible assets you have.

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