Thoughts on Leadership is the brain child of Paul Bridle. This is the place that Paul shares his monthly thoughts.

Leading from a Distance

Posted: April 1st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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Hi, and welcome to another Thoughts on Leadership.


A lot of people are finding that they are leading a team, where the people are not based in one place.  They have to lead their people remotely, due to them being scattered around the globe, around the country, or simply, in different places/locations.


As a result, I thought I would take a few moments this month just to look at what we need to do in terms of making sure we relate well with those people and lead them effectively.

You see, the key here is, in the relationship that you have with these people.  That personal connection you have with an individual.  If that person, no matter where they are in the globe, whether you are seeing them every day or not, is somebody who really understands what is expected of them and buys into you as their manager and leader, then your ability to have a personal connection becomes far easier.  In turn, if that personal connection is there your ability to lead and manage them becomes easier.   So in the first place, it’s a focus on understanding that connection.  When you are dealing with people at a distance one of the easiest methods I’ve found to doing this, and this applies with all your people, but becomes more important in these occasions is; really understand what motivates them.  What is it that motivates them to do what they are doing?  What is it that inspires them?  And what do they have in their personal life and in other aspects of their life, which is of interest to them?  By understanding that, and by showing you have a genuine interest and care about what they do in their lives, you are able to have that personal connection with them.  You can really understand them and reach out to them.


The other side of it is, they once they know that you feel like that, they still feel that little bit more connected to you and they start to appreciate you.  Once you have got those things right, then you are in a position where the importance is the flow of communication between you.  You need to make sure you establish your preferred methods of communication to be used between you: How do you want them to communicate with you?  How do they want communication from you?  Ensure that they understand how you want to be reported to; how do you want them to feed information to you?  It is paramount to get that clarity in terms of the communication processes.


Do not be afraid to ask the direct questions – How do you want me to communicate with you?  What do I need to do to communicate with you effectively?  And equally make sure you understand from them what they are wanting in reverse.  Those two things on their own are very small, very simple, but very big and can do a lot in terms of how you engage with one another.


So this month I’m going to ask you two very simple questions:


Firstly, consider, what are you currently doing?  Think about individuals in your team; what have you done to ensure that you fully understand what turns them on, what motivates them, what interests them?


OK, get that clear in your mind.


Now consider, how well are you doing?  Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10.  If I was to ask you about one of your people, how would you rate yourself in relation to really understanding what’s motivating them?  What interests them?  What is it that they want in their lives?


Of course, the second part of it is getting across to them what you need.  What is it we are trying to achieve here?  What are your goals and aspirations?


So, after careful thought, my first question is, what are your ratings on how you understand what motivates your people?

Ask yourself what you need to do to improve on that.


Secondly, think about the communication process.  Think about those same employees that I was asking about a minute ago.  Have you established with them how they want to be communicated with?   Have you established how you want them to communicate to you?


You need to have that discussion.  You can make an assumption, ‘oh well we have our monthly meeting, we have our briefings over the phone, I have an email report, I have a form that I fill in every month’.  Is that really what you are wanting?  Is that really what they are wanting from you?


So, again, after careful thought, my second question is, what are your ratings; how is your communication process?  Is it effective?  Is it what they need?  Is it what you need?

Ask yourself what you need to do to improve on that.


Work on those two points alone and I think you will find that it changes a lot of things.


I hope this has been a really useful ‘Thought on Leadership’ for this month.  Have a great month.


It has been an incredible year and we have worked on a lot of new projects.  I would like to highlight a few to you here; first is our collection of business case study DVDs.  They are meant to inspire your thinking and help you along with your business.  Go check them out at  More are planned for next year and some improvements to the existing ones based on what we have learnt this year.

We have also just released a new DVD entitled ‘The Principle of Balance’.  It is a 15 min DVD that explains the customers expectation of us and what we need to know if we are to operate effectively.  Go to; where there is a short trailer there for you to watch.

Finally, I would like to share with you a few new activities coming in 2011.  Starting in the first quarter of the new year we will be setting up two webinars a month which will have a presentation, and then a Q&A session with the presenter afterwards.  One will be industry specific for the meetings and events industry and the other will apply to business and leadership issues.  We will also be launching the new Business Planning Retreat Session designed to refocus you and your team on where your business is going in the future.

It’s been great chatting to you again this month.

I hope you have a really good month and we will catch you again next month.

We have loads of new things coming your way so watch this space.

Bye for now.


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