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If you’ve ever led a team, you know how much energy it takes to keep everyone motivated, engaged and accountable so you can achieve optimal results. But when you add distance to the mix, how do you keep the energy going to reach your targets? Working remotely has been my reality for a while, but 2020 was the first time I not only led a team, but did so through a successful flagship event. For some of you I know that working remotely was a big adjustment many of you had to make this year because of Covid 19.  Given that it was our first time around my team and I asked my team to share their thoughts on what it was like working remotely. I also give my two cents on leading a remote team through a major event and how your brand as a leader manifests through the process.

Adrianna Salandy,the Administrative Coordinator and VA on my team described her remote work experience as “great!” She said, “it’s is obviously very different from working with a team in a physical space. It takes a great level of trust, communication, responsibility and accountability. I believe these things are essential to the success of any remote team, as this is definitely what contributed to the success of our team at JBannister Branding.

Additionally, a huge part of our success and communication as a remote team are project management tools! We use slack to manage all our communication, and tools like ASANA, Airtable and Clickup to keep us on track and well organized when it comes to projects we’re working on.”

Of course there were a few hiccoughs along the way. Working remotely doesn’t come without its drawbacks. If technology decides it’s taking the day off, then everyone gets a day off.  Adriana added “for example, during day 3 of the Brandprint Summit, the current in the area where Jamila lives, went out and it just so happened that she had a major technical issue on the website. Luckily, a team member caught the issue just in time and we were able to work together to get it resolved.  Anything can happen in the digital space, but I believe that as a team, we just have to be prepared for its unpredictable nature and learn to think outside the box.”

Dionne  Archibald who is a Virtual Assistant and worked with me as a Project Coordinator said that this was her first time working as part of a remote team. She said “I appreciated the weekly team meetings that kept us on track with deadlines and deliverables. I also appreciated Jamila allowing us to play to our strengths and strongly encouraging each of us to shine in that area. She asked each of us what we’re good at or interested in and assigned duties to suit. I think this is what made the team work as well as there was no animosity amongst team members. We each respected each other and willingly offered help where we could. Also having access to the right tools such as Slack, Canva Pro and Summit in a Box made working and collaborating is a breeze.

Gabrielle Motilal who we fondly called Gabby, was the intern on the team who worked to produce PERSONALITY Magazine.  She said, “Working together virtually was as easy as peas. No stressful physical meetings when you have to get dressed quickly, jump in your car, and drive so far just for work. It’s surely very convenient because we can have meetings anywhere and at any time. It’s a very flexible working time. I like being a part of a group of ambitious young women. It’s very inspiring and motivating for me as a new author getting into the real world and I am always discovering a new thing to apply each week after our meetings and self-assessment Thursdays! I believe working from home is awesome. Running teams from home is very possible and can be very successful once you lead your team and encourage them every day – even with the little things. Keeping in touch, encouraging and checking up, knowing their influence, those little things go a long way in managing a remote team. Take for instance the Brandprint Summit we just pulled off recently. Would you even believe it if I told you?! We NEVER met before! Not something to be underestimated but something to be taken advantage of! Save gas ya’ll!”

Being responsible for leading a remote team, particularly through a major event has taught me that the process calls for the same skill and navigation to manage a team that’s physically close. Ensuring that your team is engaged means marrying technology with good old communication and emotional intelligence. Unlike the real world, unhappy team members can choose to simply, not show up and blame it on any number of things, namely, technology and you’d be none the wiser. It also means your requirement to be highly organized and disciplined is imperative.  Your brand of leadership shows up more than ever when you have to engage people remotely.  It’s very possible to run a successful business with a totally remote team, just ensure you have the right mix of team members, technology and management capacity to get it done.

Jamila Bannister

Jamila Bannister

Jamila Bannister is Personal Branding Strategist, author and content creator from Trinidad & Tobago. She works with entrepreneurs who want to market their businesses by leading from the front with thought leadership and personal branding. She focuses on helping people create strong personal brands through brand strategy, content creation and public relations