I’ll never forget my first day as a brand-new real estate agent, several years ago. My boss shook my hand, said, “Welcome aboard,” and showed me my desk. “Here’s your business cards and phone,” he said, and left with an airy, “Good luck!” Not the best team development approach, right?
I had to go it alone, basically, and learn the ins and outs of corporate real estate without any solid guidance or mentorship. I did all right, but I developed a pretty bad case of Lone Ranger Syndrome (LRS).
In today’s world, where more and more employees work remotely almost all the time, Lone Ranger Syndrome is a real danger. Without clear guidance from a team leader and everyday feedback from team members, an employee may feel that they’re on their own, and conduct themselves accordingly. They may not know when they need to get in touch with the rest of the team during different phases of a project. They may not feel that they can contact their team leader if they get stuck or have a problem. Worst of all, they may not feel like they’re part of something greater – and that will reflect in their work and level of motivation.
A colleague of mine described the different ways that remote workers were treated at two separate companies where she worked. At the first company, remote, contract, and part-time team members were seldom hired. The ones that they did hire were rarely integrated well into the graphic design teams, and their roles were poorly defined. One part-time employee complained weekly that he had nothing to do, because a full-time team member kept taking task assignments from his inbox on the days he wasn’t there. He ended up quitting after two months out of sheer frustration.
At the second company, my colleague was hired to work remotely as part of a sales team that was spread around the country. “Not once did I ever feel like an outsider, or wonder what I was doing that day,” she said. During the recruiting and hiring process, she was flown to New York to meet the entire on-site team and learn about the company’s mission and guiding strategy. Once she was hired, a supervisor worked with her daily over the phone and email to make sure she got up to speed quickly, and met all of her fellow team members.
Even though the second work team was completely remote (some of the members would never meet each other in person), they were motivated, knew their purpose and the company’s mission, and could communicate easily with each other to get the job done.
That illustrates the importance of clearly setting expectations and goals for the entire team (if not the entire company), giving leaders the tools to guide and motivate employees, and developing clear, honest communication with each other to accomplish those goals. When done correctly, everyone feels like they played a part in the victory.
Excerpted from One Team, One Dream by Gregg Gregory For more information, get your copy of Gregg’s book, One Team, One Dream today! Available in both print and electronic versions!