How to be a Remarkable Long-Distance Leader

remote leadership

Managing a Remote Team

 

More and more of us are working remotely some or all of the time. Leaders are now challenged with managing teams spread across time zones. Taking on this topic of remote leadership is Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel in their book The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership.

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

 

Your latest book is The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership and your website on leadership is superbly done. Let’s start with your definition of leadership.

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

 

Pitfalls of Long-Distance Leaders

How to Compete With Giants

compete with giants

Overcoming the Odds

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

 

What lessons should other entrepreneurs learn from your experience?

How to Reach Peak Leadership Fitness

leadership fitness

Elevate Your Leadership Game

 

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.

I recently read Peak Leadership Fitness: Elevating Your Leadership Game by leadership coach and fitness expert Timothy J. Tobin. I spoke to him about the intersection of leadership fitness and physical fitness.

 

“Leadership is not a skill. It is a collection of skills. If someone tells you to work on your leadership skills, ask for specificity.” -Timothy J. Tobin

 

What is peak leadership fitness?

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

 

Conduct a Readiness Assessment

Before a physical regimen, doctors recommend a series of tests to determine your readiness. How do leaders conduct a readiness assessment?

6 Steps to Communicate with Impact

Click to watch our video above

“We spend as much as 80 percent of our waking day in some form of communication.” -Patrick Donadio

 

6 Steps to Communicate with Impact

Three quick facts I learned from reading just the first few pages of Communicating with Impact: Effectively Communicate Ideas and Achieve Greater Results:

  1. Almost 80 percent of your day is spent in some form of communication.
  2. Communication skills ranked as the most or second-most desired skill in all industries.
  3. Better communication leads to better results.

 

“Companies with effective communication had 47 percent higher returns to shareholders over five years.” -Patrick Donadio

 

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.

10 Principles of Truly Great Leaders

great leaders

Truly Great Leaders

 

If you want to take your leadership to new levels, I highly recommend you start with Kevin Kruse’s new book, Great Leaders Have No Rules. Packed with practical and contrarian advice, you’ll find yourself adopting new practices immediately. If you want to become a more effective leader, put down your device, close the door, and open the pages of this book to begin your leadership journey.

Kevin Kruse is a bestselling author and a serial entrepreneur. His articles appear in numerous websites including Forbes. Don’t miss his LEADx Leadership Show (in fact, Kevin interviewed me for the show here.)

I recently spoke with Kevin about his new book which is already one of my favorite leadership books.

 

“Leadership is a superpower.” -Kevin Kruse

 

Leadership is a Super Power

Your new book pulled me in immediately from the first pages. In the introduction, you say, “Leadership is a super power,” and “Almost everything we’ve been taught about leadership is wrong.” Wow. Tell us more about your current perspective.

I think too often, we think of leadership as a something fancy or complicated or abstract, which is why most people don’t think about it very often at all. But when you boil it down to it’s simplest definition, leadership is influence. And when you realize that, you realize how powerful successful leadership can be.

If you can influence yourself to put down the potato chips and get on the treadmill, you will change your life. That’s self-leadership. If you can influence the quality and intimacy of your relationship with your spouse, you can literally save a marriage through leadership. And of course when it comes to the more traditional leadership at work, well, my horrible leadership caused my first two companies to go out of business. But successful leadership was one of the primary factors in other companies I’ve owned winning awards for both fast growth and being a great place to work.

 

“Great leaders understand the true value of time. You can never get a minute back once it’s wasted.” -Kevin Kruse

 

Lead With No Rules