“How many direct reports…? And my region is how big?”

These are questions many managers will resonate with, and at Spring we’re used to hearing them more now than ever before as a part of our coaching and mentoring remit in business.

Scaling back leads to additional pressures for remote management

Some organisations have increased headcount per manager, to cut the cloth in new ways as the economic climate squeezes them.

However, some businesses have scaled back on the number of direct reports remote managers have, recognising that it brings better results longer-term.

Both scenarios, of course, bring their own unique challenges.

Remoteness in management methods can stretch all resources

If you are a remote manager in a matrix environment, or one with direct reports, the chances are your ability to influence others and get the required results is stretched more and more.

Here are 4 key areas to ask yourself some questions on, to refresh and relook at what you do:

1. How are you journey planning, and is it hitting the mark for you?  When was the last time you compared your journey plan with someone else or upskilled yourself?

2. What methods of prioritisation are you using across your region – Footprint of business? Balanced Scorecard impact? Performance v Potential Grid? 80:20 rule? Geography? Work/life balance?

3. What balance of face to face vs. phone vs. email vs. teleconferencing are you going for? Are you considering this by individual or by groups/operational needs?

4. Who are you modelling your role upon? Do you have a mentor or role model (in or outside your business) who is really good at managing remotely – someone to share ideas with, and learn from?

Polarity in plate spinning

There seems to be some polarity developing in organisations, when it comes to spinning all these plates effectively and communicating with more employees.

Some promote increased video conferencing and ‘technology,’ whilst others push for more and more ‘good old’ face to face.

A better way is to blend methods and decide on a case by case basis.

If it’s a text that will hit the mark, then use it.

If it’s making the effort to travel then do it but make the time count whilst there by honing your approach – see point 2 above especially.

No one way is going to be the only resounding answer. Keep experimenting and noticing what works best for each individual.