Kevin Eikenberry is the founder of Kevin Eikenberry Group, the author of several books, and a leadership speaker. Wayne Turmel is the cofounder of the Remote Leadership Institute and also has authored numerous books.
I recently spoke with Kevin about the unique challenges of managing a remote team.
“Think about leadership first, location second.” –Kevin Eikenberry
Thanks for the feedback! I love this question, Skip, and while there are a hundred great definitions, here is one to consider: Leadership is the actions taken to help and encourage others consistently in the direction of a desired future outcome. It is a verb (action), not a noun (a position). And, nothing gets better without leaders.
“Use technology as a tool, not as a barrier or an excuse.” –Kevin Eikenberry
What unique challenges do long-distance leaders have?
The obvious one is that you can’t interact with some of your people face-to-face, and you likely won’t communicate with them as often. So that means that every interaction is important – and you should work to communicate beyond email (turn on those webcams) as much as possible.
One less obvious is that it isn’t just you and the remote team member who have to adjust. If you are like most teams where you have a hybrid – some work together and others are remote – you have to help the whole group learn how to collaborate and communicate most effectively in this new world of work.
“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.” -Booker T. Washington
If you enjoy reading stories of victorious underdogs, you will love Competing with Giants by Phyong Uyen Tran is Deputy CEO of THP group, Vietnam’s leading beverage company. The book is a compelling read as it takes you through the journey of a mega-successful family business. Imagine turning down $2.5 billion. What did it take to get there? How did they scale the business? What insights can we learn from Asia’s growth?
More to the point, what can all business leaders learn from her experience?
I found this book an incredibly fascinating read and reached out to learn more.
Turning Down 2.5 Billion Dollars
Take us inside you and your family’s emotions. What was it like to turn down a $2.5 billion offer from Coca-Cola?
When Coca-Cola made the offer, they certainly wanted to dazzle us by sending a private jet to take us to their headquarters in Atlanta. Even though my younger sister, Bich, and I were more or less a decade into running our family enterprise, we were impressed by the effort that they had put forth with the offer. However, Dr. Thanh, who is my father as well as the founder and CEO of Tan Hiep Phat (THP), was calm and collected. As usual, his words were economical, and he listened carefully to all that was said in the meeting. It was extremely difficult to read through his poker face. 2.5 billion dollars was a lot of money, but to my father, the decision had been made when the term of the offer would limit THP from developing any new brands and would limit THP from selling our products outside of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It goes against the vision and mission that we have set for THP. There was no meeting of the minds, and that was that. Almost too simple of a decision.
“Great leaders also possess a future-orientation that allows them to seek out opportunities with a positive attitude rather than focusing on difficulties, which is a past orientation.” -Phuong Uyen Tran
There are many parallels between physical fitness and leadership fitness. Both are journey’s into self-discovery. They require you to set goals, persevere amidst obstacles and follow a game plan. They also require commitment, passion, initiative and self-awareness. Both have the potential to inspire others, and your best results only come with effort. An important distinction is that the stakes are much higher with leadership.
Peak leadership fitness is about being the best leader you can be. It is aspirational and involves continuously working towards elevated interpersonal and technical skills, adaptability and growth through learning, and delivering consistently positive results. Becoming leadership fit requires strong, accurate self-awareness, frequent and ongoing personal improvement, physical energy, emotional connection, and mental toughness.
“Leadership by its nature is subjective…you are only as good of a leader as those around you perceive you to be. -Timothy J. Tobin
Rather eye-opening before I even got into the book. It’s hard to overstate the importance of communicating well. I am on a constant personal journey to learn how to connect with others more authentically, to listen better, and to express myself more clearly.
Today I am excited to introduce you to someone who is a master teacher on the art of communication. His work has helped me, and I hope you enjoy our discussion.